web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Why is the tzitzis reminder on our clothing? How does it remind us that there are 613 mitzvos?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Haftarah-Happenings-logo-NEW

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

Leff-111414

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.

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

Yehoshua knew that the outcome of the battles would depend not on military might, but on the spiritual strength of Klal Yisrael.

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: