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The wrong order - Behar

Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 7:30 am

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In this week’s Parasha Behar, we read about the Mitsva of Shmita: The farmers in Israel cultivate their fields for 6 years and the 7th year is a sabbatical year, where they leave their fields uncultivated and spend their time studying Torah and generally being more spiritual. But what do they eat, since the fields remain uncultivated?

G-d promises that whoever keeps the Mitsvah of Shmita will have a special blessing in their fields during the 6th year and there will be enough harvest for 3 years (6th, 7th and 8th, cince one year will be needed to harvest whatever was planted in the beginning of the 8th year)

In your opinion, in which order should this commandment be written? I would say, for instance: when you come to the land of Israel, you will cultivate the land for 6 years and on the 7th you will do the Shmita. In other words, in chronological order.

The Torah though write in differently. It starts with the 7th year, Shmita and only then does it mention the 6 years of agriculture activity. Why? In order to remind us of something very important.

The goal of every Jew is not the agriculture work, and generally any work. We did not come to this world in order to earn as much money as we can… We have a spiritual mission, to make this world a better place. A place where we can feel the presence of G-d, through the study of Torah and the practice of Mitsvot.

Thus, in order to clarify the right priorities, the Torah chooses this order. The work is necessary, but the real goal is to get to the 7th year, where we will be busy exclusively with G-d and spirituality. When we have this in mind, the 6 years take on a new dimension and even the worldly activities become spiritual.

Most of us are not farmers. But we have our own small Shmita, the weekly Shabbat. On the 7th day, we do not work and dedicate our time to our mission. We light the Shabbat candles, we make Kiddush, we eat a festive meal, we pray, we rest and, most importantly, we remember that we did not come to this world in order to earn money. We have an important mission, and when we fulfill it, we will bring Mashiach now!

Think about what you can do this Shabbat in order to make the world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom,


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