BEHAR (on the mountain)

Sabbath Rest for the Land

On Mount Sinai, יהוה communicates to Moses the laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles,as well as how to relate to those in the community who become impoverished.

Leviticus 25:1 And יהוה spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai saying, 2 Speak to the Children of Israel וְאמַרְת and you say to them, when you come into the land which I give you, then the land itself will keep a Sabbath to ליהוה. 3 Six years you will sow your field and six years you will prune your vineyard and gather in את־ the fruit from it; 4 But in the seventh year will be a Sabbath rest for the land, a Sabbath to ליהוה: you will neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. C-MATS

Question: Why did יהוה set up the Sabbatical Year cycle?  The land’s rest in the seventh year teaches that the primary force in the universe is יהוה, not the law of nature. By leaving his fields untended and unguarded for a year, the Israelite demonstrates that this world is but a corridor leading to the ultimate world, that true life comes when man stops striving for material gain in favor of dedication to spiritual growth. The Torah emphasizes, therefore, that it is יהוה Who gives the land and יהוה who provides your food. יהוה told the Hebrew people to let their fields rest and not to plant their crops every seventh year. He promised them that if they do, they wouldn’t lose out – He would perform a miracle and bring a double crop. This was a huge test of trust for the people, since in those days no crops meant no food! Each person had to face that test, and his decision really showed just how much trust he did or didn’t have in יהוה. We can apply this idea to our lives as well. Whenever we find ourselves in a dilemma where doing what is ethical and right seems like an inconvenience or loss, we can choose to trust in יהוה, knowing that if we do the right thing, in the end we will never lose out.  Chumash

Discuss: How have you trusted in יהוה this week to provide for you and was he faithful?

Question: What does a person gain by trusting in יהוה? Trust in יהוה, called “bitachon” in Hebrew, is just about the most valuable thing a person could have. Someone who has TRUST can literally be happy and calm every moment of his life. This is because he knows that he is never alone, and that nothing that happens to him is merely by chance. Since nothing can help him or harm him unless יהוה wants it to happen, he doesn’t have to be afraid of anyone or anything. He doesn’t have to flatter anyone, hoping for their help. Trust in יהוה can transform our lives and put us into an entirely different plane. It’s worth doing whatever we can to acquire it.