As it says in the Gemarah (Yevamos 62:b), 12,000 pairs of students of Rabbi Akiva died between Pesach and Shevuos, because they did not give the right respect to one another.

Let us try our best during at least the counting of the Sefira, to love our fellow Jew a sincere love in our heart during these days, and by doing this, may we merit to bring the Moshiach closer in our days.

Orlah - Fruit Trees:

This weeks Parsha tells us of the commandment of when one plants a fruit tree, in the first three years, it is forbidden to eat or have any benefit from the trees fruits. Yet in the fourth year, all its fruits are holy to Hashem. And in the fifth year, one may eat the fruit (after taking off the relevant Terumah and Ma'aser).

There are many laws involved with this commandment, I will only discuss a few.

The three years that one must count, at times it could be more and at times it may be less than three whole years. The reason for this is, the year starts in this case, in the month of Tishrei. And if one planted on the 16th of Av or after that, we start the year from the coming Tishrei. Therefore one would have to wait longer than 3 years. If one plants before the 16th of Av, meaning if one plants 43 days before the end of the year(Tishrei), these 43 days count for a full first year of the counting for Orlah. The reason for this is because it takes 13 days for the tree to start taking root, and 30 days of a year is considered as a year.(Rambam )

However, when we reach the Fourth year, the fruits are holy, and they have a similar law as Maaser Sheini.

On the fourth year, the fruits have a law of Revai, and this holiness runs all the way till Tu-Bishvat of the fifth year. While others say that in a case where one counted 3 complete years of Orlah, one just goes to the 1st of Tishrei, of the 5th year.

There is a Machlokes if Revai (The fourth year) also applies in Chutz La-Aretz.

Orlah only applies to a fruit tree that was planted for its fruit.

If a fruit tree was not planted for its fruit, yet it was solely planted as a fence or for its shade, and this is obvious that that is what it was planted for, one is allowed to eat the fruits, right away and he doesn't have to count the years of Orlah.

However, if one plants a fruit tree for a Mitzvah(Lulav, Esrog...), the tree still has a law of Orlah, and thus one can not use the Esrog during the Orlah period.

However, one may use a Lulav that came from a palm tree within the three year period. This law is true by Lulavim, because they are not considered a fruit, while an Esrog is considered a fruit. And one is only allowed to use an Esrog on Succos which is prepared to be eaten (not Orlah, and that Terumah and Ma'aser was taken).

Orlah applies to Jewish & Non-Jewish produce, in Eretz Yisroel, as we are commanded by the Torah. Orlah also applies outside Eretz Yisroel, yet it only applies as a Rabbinical decree. Therefore, outside Eretz Yisroel, if one is in doubt if a fruit is from a tree that is still considered Orlah he may eat from it.

However if one is certain that a fruit is Orlah in Chutz La Aretz, one is also forbidden to eat that fruit.

When a fruit that is Orlah gets mixed up with other fruits that are not Orlah, if there is more than 200 non-Orlah fruits opposite each fruit that is Orlah, it is Batel.

(Please do not use the above for Halacha, when a Halachik question arises, one should ask his local reliable Rabbi).