The central theme of this week's Torah portion is that of the Sabbatical year, known as "Shemitta". Every seven years the land of Israel must lay dormant -- no agricultural work may be performed on the land. Right to this very day, the rules of Shemitta are observed and many Jewish farmers do not plant, prune, or even harvest. After seven Shemitta years -fifty years in total - was the "Yovel" - the Jubilee year.

The Sabbatical Year (Shmita) in Israel is finally here... But can a modern nation disregard their fields for an entire year? Observing the laws of shmita is a test of faith and an opportunity to reaffirm one's commitment to God.

Observing the laws of Shmita demonstrates the understanding that nothing truly belongs to us. Even the land that one owns and cultivates belongs to God.

As the Rabbinic Director of United with Israel, I am honored to share beautiful Torah messages from Israel with you each week. This week I have a special request to make from you. Please read on...

Israel's New Year for Trees has begun! Now is the right time to start planting Fruit Trees in the Land of Israel. Watch your trees of Israel blossom into magnificent expressions of bounty and beauty. Show your love for the Land of Israel and PLANT FRUIT TREES TODAY!