web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Everybody’s Doing It


The-Shmuz

“You shall sound a broken blast on the shofar, in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound the shofar throughout your land.” – Vayikra 25:9

When we are on our own land we are commanded to keep every seventh year as the shemittah year, and at the completion of seven shemittahs to add an additional shemittah year – the yovel. During this year, all land lays fallow. Homesteads return to their original owners, and all Jewish slaves are freed.

On Yom Kippur at the start of the yovel year we have a specific commandment to publicly blow the shofar.

The Sefer HaChinuch explains that the Torah commands us to blow the shofar on yovel because freeing a slave is a very difficult mitzvah, and the slave owners need chizuk. A master who has had a slave for many years may well have become dependent upon him and find it hard to part with him. By sounding the shofar, we are publicly proclaiming that it is yovel and all Jews will be freeing their slaves. The master will then recognize that throughout the Land of Israel everyone is freeing his slaves, and it will be easier for him to free his own slave.

This statement is difficult to understand. Why does it become easier for a slave owner to free his slave because others are doing the same? The slave owner is a businessman, not a teenager. We are dealing with a mature person, faced with a difficult test. What difference does it make to him whether this is a popular mitzvah or not? The mitzvah is difficult because he is being asked to give up something he has become attached to and is dependent upon. Since that’s what makes the mitzvahdifficult, what difference does it make to him whether there are many other people doing the same or if he is the only person on the planet doing it?

Understanding Human Nature

The answer to this question is based on understanding human nature. Psychologists from Freud to Skinner to Maslow have been debating the inner nature of the person for decades. With ever-changing views and understandings, that which one generation accepts as truth the next rejects as tomfoolery. Here we get insight into the nature of man from the One Who truly knows – his Maker.

That understanding is that we humans are highly social. We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do. Peer pressure isn’t something that only impacts the world of the teenager. It affects everyone. “My crowd,” “my chevra,” and “my society” affect the way I view things. Ultimately, they help shape my value system.

The Torah is teaching us that even a mature adult faced with a difficult trial will be greatly influenced by what others are doing. If something is done by everyone, it will be much easier for him. It won’t lessen his financial loss, and it won’t ease the burden of replacing a loyal servant, but it will help him gather the fortitude to make the proper decision since everyone is doing it.

This concept has very real application in our lives. We live in times when society at large has lost its moral compass. Particularly in the United States, once a bastion of family values and morality, we now watch daily as new innovations in decadence and promiscuity pour forth. We can’t open a newspaper without being exposed to new depths of moral decay. Ideas, concepts, and images that wouldn’t have been accepted in the most base of publications a generation ago are now commonplace in the most respected ones.

We may be tempted to assume this doesn’t affect us. After all, we are different. We don’t buy into the culture of the times. And while we may feel self-assured and secure in our position, the reality is that we are human, so it can’t help but affect us. The question is: what can we do about it?

The Whole World Agrees

The Gemara often uses an expression: “kulei alma lo pligi” – “the whole world agrees.” To the Torah sages, their world was the whole world. If you had an opinion about an issue of halacha, you were in the world. If not, you weren’t. This is illustrative of a perspective. While they were certainly aware of people outside of their sphere, they created their own world.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Everybody’s Doing It”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Bibi, Abbas Met Before Ceasefire
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

The-Shmuz

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are often two distinct perspectives of an event: the perspective from living in the moment, and the perspective of history.

The rock doesn’t have needs, yet it listens to Hashem. How much more so should we, who have so many needs?

Clearly, they were lacking in bitachon. Their faith in Hashem was deficient. But they weren’t guilty of speaking lashon hara.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/everybodys-doing-it/2012/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: