parasha Behar 5782

“And the L-rd spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the L-RD.” – Leviticus 25:1-2, JPS 1917 Tanach

An emphasis is placed on the Shemitah commandment being given at Mt Sinai. All of the commandments were given at Sinai; so, the question may be asked, why is Shemitah singled out from amongst the other commandments? This may be understood within the context of emunah (faith). The L’RD guarantees, “Now if you ask: What are we to eat during the seventh year if, see, we are not to sow, nor gather in our increase? Now I will command My blessing to you in the sixth year, and it will yield a harvest sufficient for three years” (Leviticus 25:20-21).

To rely on the L’RD’s word that he would bestow a blessing upon the children of Israel, so that their crops would produce an abundance of yield, enough to last for three years, this is an act of emunah (faith). Only the L’RD could make this guarantee; so, inasmuch that Torah specifically notes the commandment to observe the Shemitah year, wherein the seventh year the land is to lie fallow, this is a reminder that the L’RD, Who gave the commandment on Mt. Sinai is the Guarantor. Only G-d could assure the people that by placing their trust in Him, He would provide for them until the new crop of the following year produced a yield. This is a commandment based entirely upon faith, reassuring that provision will be made.

The Shemitah cycle also alludes to the historical realization from a Biblical perspective, that after six thousand years, there will be a Sabbatical Millenium. In like manner that the land is worked for six years, there will also be a total of six thousand years of history. This is according to the Hebrew calendar, counting the generations from Adam. (This does not imply that the world is only six-thousand years old; rather, the first six days, before man was created, is an entirely different period of time). The seventh year – the Shemitah year – of the seven-year cycle when in the seventh year the land lies fallow, corresponds to the sabbatical millennium.

Furthermore, the thousand-year Sabbath begins with the reign of Moshiach in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem); it is considered the first part of Olam Haba (the World to Come). Therefore, in light of this expectation, we are to prepare ourselves in this world, so that we may partake of the reward, likened to a banquet, in the next world. “‘This world is like a corridor before the world to come [Olam Haba]; prepare thyself in the corridor, so that thou mayest enter into the banquet hall'” (Pirkei Avos 4:21).

Author: tzvifievel

My focus is on the synthesis of psychology, religion, and writing. I have undergraduate degrees in Psychology and English.

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