Dear Readers,

A mission statement is a clear declaration of the aims and values of a company, organization or individual. Every successful business has one.

Some mission statements are inspiring. They declare the company’s social consciousness to create products that are pure, free of chemicals and don’t harm the environment. Others emphasize the company’s exceptional customer service, value and quality.

By articulating the company’s purpose, mission statements serve to guide the decision-making process and provide paths towards reaching an overall goal.

Which makes me wonder . . . what is my mission statement as a wife, mother, writer and Jewish woman? And, if I would focus more on it, would it keep me better on track?

In this week’s Torah portion, G‑d introduces the concept of shemittah, a Sabbatical year: “When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Shabbat to G‑d. For six years, you may sow your field . . . but in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest.” (Lev. 25:2-3)

The seven-year agricultural cycle observed in the Land of Israel begins with six years of work, followed by shemittah, a Sabbatical year. Yet the above passage gives the impression that as soon as the Jews entered Israel, they would need to immediately observe this Sabbatical year (the land shall rest a Shabbat to G‑d”—), followed by their six years of work.

The Torah teaches that our six years of work must be permeated with the ultimate goal of the seventh year, which is a “Shabbat to G‑d,” when we will be able to devote our time to holy, spiritual pursuits. Throughout those six years of labor, we need to remember that our work is not an end in itself, but a means for creating holiness in the world.

In our own “land,” the bulk of our schedules often deal with mundane tasks, responsibilities and never-ending “To Do” lists. It’s easy to lose focus on our spiritual mission. Do we work merely to acquire more, consume more, vacation more—and then once again begin the cycle anew? Or is there a more meaningful, underlying goal to our lives?

Our days and weeks, just like the six-year shemittah cycle, must be pervaded by a “Sabbath unto G‑d consciousness.” In the homes we build, the families we raise and as part of our day-to-day decisions, at the fore of our consciousness we must have a clear vision of our mission.

What is most important to us? Are we sacrificing integrity for financial gain? Are we allowing non-essential pursuits to consume too much of our time and mindset? Are we engaging in actions that are contrary to our ethics? Are qualities like joy, optimism and kindness apparent in our homes and daily lives?

To stay on track—true to our values and spiritual selves—each of us must have a clear mission statement.

What’s yours?

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW