This week’s Torah portion is “Behar” (VaYikra – Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2), the Hebrew word for “on the mountain”. As the commentators point out, the name of the Torah portion is intended to remind us that the entire Torah, and all of its commandments, were given “on the mountain” – Mount Sinai.
The first of the commandments discussed in “Behar” is that of “Shemitta” – The Sabbatical Year. The Torah tells us that every seven years the Holy Land, the Land of Israel, must lie fallow. That’s right – no planting, pruning, or even landscaping. Just like mankind is given a day of rest every seventh day, so too the fields of the Holy Land are given a year of rest every seven years.
But wait! What are we to eat? How can we go an entire year without working the land? Is this decree not a little harsh?
The answer is a resounding NO. It’s not harsh, rather, it’s a gift. The commandment of “Shemitta” is an opportunity for the People of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the God of Israel to unite as one. When the Jewish people are forced to place their trust in God to provide for them there is no greater renewal and reconnection between Him and His people.
Not only does God promise that He will provide food in the seventh year when it is forbidden to work the land, but He also promises to provide extra food in the sixth and seventh years – and even in the eighth year when farmers are just getting back to work!
And guess what! He hasn’t let us down once! Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live! The Holy Land continues to provide for its citizens, the country is thriving, and the future of the State of Israel is looking brighter each day. A little bit of trust goes a long way!
Shabbat Shalom from the beautiful and holy Land of Israel!