web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshas Bechukosai: True Rest During the Sabbatical Year And Lag B’Omer Connections


Leff-051614

We are familiar with the mitzvah of shemittah, which will begin in about five months. We are not allowed to work the land of Eretz Yisrael for the entire seventh year of the seven-year cycle. We observe the mitzvah in our day. However, from the text of this week’s haftarah, it appears that Bnei Yisrael failed to keep this mitzvah during the time of the Beis HaMikdash.

The pasuk states that when Klal Yisrael does not follow in the ways of the Torah, “V’shamatita u’becha mi’nachalasecha asher nasati lecha veha’avaditicha es oyvecha ba’aretz asher lo yadata ki aish kedachtim b’api ad olam tukad – You will be forced to remove [(yourselves] from your ancestral land that I have given you and I will subjugate you to your enemies in a land that you did not know for you have set alight a fire in My anger and it will burn continually [until you repent]” (Yirmiyah 17:4).

The first word used, v‘shamatita, you will be forced to remove, is derived from the word shemittah, ceasing to work. Rashi on this verse sees a link between Klal Yisrael’s lack of observance of shemittah and the obliteration of their presence as a nation in Eretz Yisrael. Rashi (Bechukosai 25:18 and 26:35) says that since Klal Yisrael did not observe shemittah during the 70 cycles from the time of Yehoshua, they were exiled for 70 years after Churban Bais Rishon. The rest of the haftarah continues to discuss the lack of observance of shemittah and blesses one who has bitachon in Hashem, “Baruch hagever asher yivtach b’Hashem,” (ibid. 17:7) despite not working the land, and curses one who does not trust in Hashem but rather trusts in man’s abilities as in “Arur hagever asher yivtach b’adom” (ibid. 17:5).

The question begs: how in the world can we accept that Bnei Yisrael en masse did not ever keep the mitzvah of shemittah? Would they simply ignore one of Hashem’s mitzvos? This question is also asked by Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky in Iyunim BaMikra (Bechukosai 26:34). Let us add a few more questions. Throughout Nach we never read of a leader instructing and warning Klal Yisrael about this mitzvah.  Why not? If no one kept it, wouldn’t it be one of the first things a navi or shofet would mention?  Furthermore, already in this week’s parsha, the pesukim allude to the potential lack of shemittah observance as a reason for the churban. Why then didn’t Klal Yisrael get the message, heed the warning, and make sure to observe shemittah properly?

Rav Yaakov explains that when the pesukim and Chazal say that the shemittah was not kept they do not mean that the actual halachos were not observed. The halachos were indeed observed 100%. What was not fulfilled 100% was the purpose and spirit of the sabbatical year. At the beginning of Parshas Behar (25:2), the pasuk says that the land should rest during the shemittah year and it should be Shabbos L’Hashem. The Seforno says that just as refraining from work on Shabbos should remind us of the Borei Olam, the world’s Creator, refraining from working the land during the seventh year must do the same. Just as Shabbos is designed to be a day to focus on spirituality, closeness with Hashem and Torah study, the shemittah year is similarly designed by Hashem to be set aside for ruchniyus growth. This is why Rashi in Parshas Bechukosai begins by saying that Bnei Yisrael must be ameilim baTorah, immersed in Torah study, if they are to properly follow in Hashem’s ways. This is applicable at all times but especially during the shemittah year, when Klal Yisrael’s only job as a nation is to seriously toil in Torah.

About the Author:


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 “Parshas Bechukosai: True Rest During the Sabbatical Year And Lag B’Omer Connections”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

What if someone would come to you and offer you everything that is desirable in this world, but with one condition: you have to give up your essence.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Torah learning is valueless unless it enhances personal morality, fostering closer connection to God

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Casting A Doubt
‘Shall We Say [They] Are Not Valid?’
(Nedarim 5a-7a)

I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Why was Samson singled out as the only Shofet required to be a nazir from cradle to grave?

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

Tosafos suggests several answers as to how a minor can own an item, m’d’Oraisa.

This week’s video discusses the important connection between the Priestly Blessing and parenting.

Many of us simply don’t get the need for the Torah to list the exact same gift offering, 12 times!

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

These four parshiyos are viewed as steps in a progression toward Pesach, the Yom Tov of teshuvah m’ahavah, of returning to Hashem out of love.

Just having basic emunah during these times of great spiritual challenges is inestimable in Hashem’s eyes.

In reality, there is no such thing as an unimportant detail, an unimportant mitzvah.

“A person should sell even the beams of his own house in order to buy shoes.”

If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-bechukosai-true-rest-during-the-sabbatical-year-and-lag-bomer-connections/2014/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: