web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Roet, at a UNSC meeting held July 22, 2014 regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel Attempts to Insert Reason into UN Debate About Middle East
Latest Judaism Stories
Noah and his Family; mixed media collage by Nathan Hilu. Courtesy Hebrew Union College Museum

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Leff-101014-Zecharia

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

Leff-091214

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.

The question begs: how in the world can we accept that Bnei Yisrael en masse did not ever keep the mitzvah of shemittah?

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

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: