Behar Roundup

Behar Roundup

In this week's Parshah, Behar, we learn about some very important mitzvot that apply in the land of Israel.

First is shemittah. The same way the seventh day of the week is Shabbat, every seventh year is a Shabbat for the land when the land gets to "rest." This means that for six years, farmers may work on the land, sowing seeds so things should grow, pruning to help the plants grow better, and harvesting the fruit and vegetables so they can sell it and make money. But in the seventh year, the year of shemittah, the land must be allowed to rest, and there can be no planting or harvesting. Instead, anything that grows becomes free for anybody who wants to just pick and enjoy.

After seven cycles of shemittah, the fiftieth year (7 x 7 = 49, it's the year following the 49th, so it's the 50th), is called yovel or the jubilee. It is also a year of rest for the land, but in addition to that, all servants go free, and all property returns to its original owner. That means that whenever somebody buys a plot of land he knows he will only keep it until the year of yovel when the land will go back to the original owner.

Then the Torah tells us that we shouldn't worry that we won't have enough to eat during shemittah and the following year because we can't plant and harvest. Because G‑d promises that the year before shemittah--the sixth year—will produce enough food for three whole years—the sixth year, the year of shemittah, and the following year, when things won't grow because there was no planting during shemittah.

We also learn in this Parshah that it's forbidden to charge a Jew interest. That means that when we lend someone money, we can't take a little extra back as a thank you for doing them the favor and lending them the money. Rather, all loans must be free—the person only has to pay back exactly what you lent them.

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
4 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Anonymous Israel May 21, 2017

BH
In the Torah it says to keep the Jubilee yet we don't
Is there a reason?
Are we disobeying this law?
Who decides which laws to follow? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org May 22, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

The Torah implies in 25:10 that it only applies when all of the Jewish people live in the land and there is a a Temple in Jerusalem. Reply

Myriam Karo Israel May 23, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

BH
Thank you
just wanted to know why? Reply

Anonymous May 14, 2012

impresd In this week's Parshah, Behar, we learn about some very important mitzvot that apply in the land of Israel.

First is shemittah. The same way the seventh day of the week is Shabbat, every seventh year is a Shabbat for the land when the land gets to "rest." This means that for six years, farmers may work on the land, sowing seeds so things should grow, pruning to help the plants grow better, and harvesting the fruit and vegetables so they can sell it and make money. But in the seventh year, the year of shemittah, the land must be allowed to rest, and there can be no planting or harvesting. Instead, anything that grows becomes free for anybody who wants to just pick and enjoy.
This is very interesting. Reply



More in this section
Jewish Story Time

The Itche Kadoozy Show