Parshat Behar From Central East NCSY

Posted on July 21, 2008

In the beginning of Parshat Behar it states, “Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: When you come to the land which I give you, the land shall rest, a rest for the Al-mighty.” (Vayikra 25:2)

In this pasuk, shemittah and Shabbat are being compared. Ramban explains that this hints to Hashem’s creation of the world; He worked for six days and then rested on the seventh. Just like Hashem gave B’nei Yisroel the day of Shabbat to relax and to contemplate and sanctify His name on this holy day.

So, too, Hashem commanded B’nei Yisroel to rest and not harvest their crops on the seventh year. The shemittah was created in order for B’nei Yisroel to take a step back and recognize that the fruits of their labor were entirely from Hashem.

Shemittah and Shabbat are intended to add holiness and purpose among the Jews. The Alshich notes that the pasuk writes, “?.the land which I [gave] you”. This is written to emphasize Hashem’s will to counteract normal human behavior. A regular person thinks that his property that he toiled is his alone. However, this pasuk and shemittah emphasize that it is Hashem that gives us our beautiful land and produce.

Even though we are not living in Israel yet, the shemittah commandment can make us more aware of our need to thank Hashem for everything he has given us. By appreciating our blessings in life, it can cause us to better servants of Hashem.