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When is the next Jubilee year?

When is the next Jubilee year?

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In short, the answer to your question is that the Jubilee year is currently not observed or commemorated. The reasons for this are complex and involve many different opinions on the matter. In the following lines I will attempt to briefly relay the relevant issues.

According to biblical law, the Jubilee is only observed when all twelve tribes of the Jewish nation are living in Israel, as is derived from the verse,1 “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it,” which implies that the Jubilee is only sanctified when “all who live on it”—meaning, all who are meant to be living there—are in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, the Jubilee is only observed when every tribe is living in the specific part of the land which was it was allotted when the Land of Israel was divided. However, some are of the opinion that the Jubilee is observed as long as there is a partial representation of each tribe, even if most of the tribe is not in Israel.

In the 6th century BCE, the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and sent the majority of its population into exile. Those who were deported are historically known as the Ten Lost Tribes.

We are certain that before that point in time the Jubilee was regularly observed. We also know that, with the destruction of the Second Temple and the disbandment of the Sanhedrin (supreme rabbinical court), we ceased to mark the Jubilee year in any form. The periods about which there is a question are the remaining years between the exile of the Ten Tribes and the destruction of the First Temple, and the Second Temple Era.

According to the opinion that partial representation of each tribe is sufficient to fulfill the scriptural requirement, biblically mandated Jubilees were fully observed throughout the periods in question, because there remained a small representation of each tribe in Israel.

However, according to the first opinion mentioned above, with the exile of the Northern Kingdom the required condition for the Jubilee to be sanctified was lost. Thus, the last time there was a biblical requirement to observe the Jubilee was about 150 years before the destruction of the First Temple.

The question remains, however, whether according to this opinion Jubilee years were designated or observed during this time by rabbinic injunction. This is the subject of debate amongst the sages.2

As mentioned above, though, today the Jubilee year is neither designated nor observed.3

And now for the answer to your question: “When is the next Jubilee year?”

We eagerly await the day when G‑d will bring our entire nation back to our homeland—including the ten “lost” tribes—and we will again resume observing the Jubilee year, as well as so many other mitzvot which we are incapable of performing until that awaited day.4

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson

FOOTNOTES
1.

Leviticus 25:10.

2.

The reasons behind this debate: Although there was no biblical requirement to observe the Jubilee year after the Ten Tribes were exiled, the observance of the shemittah (Sabbatical year) remained a biblical obligation. The integrity of the seven-year Sabbatical cycle depended on the larger fifty-year cycle—after completing seven seven-year cycles, a one-year hiatus was taken before the new cycle began (on the 51st year). It was thus necessary to designate a (non-observed) fiftieth “Jubilee” year. Others explain that the sages also instituted the (partial) observance of the laws of Jubilee to commemorate the biblical mitzvah.
However, there is also an opinion in the Talmud that the Jubilee is not an “in-between-cycles year,” but rather that it is the first of the next 49-year cycle, and thus not designating it would not impact the calculation of the Sabbatical cycles. This opinion also maintains that the Sages never instituted the Jubilee year as a commemoration.

3.

Although the laws of shemittah are observed in Israel to this very day, the Jubilee year is not designated or observed. There are many reasons for this. Some of them: a) The Jubilee only affected the shemittah cycle when the shemittah was established and declared by the Sanhedrin, as opposed to today when it is automatically programmed into the perpetual Jewish calendar. b) The observance of shemittah today is only a rabbinic decree, and therefore the Jubilee year does not affect its cycle. c) No commemoration is in order when there is no Sanhedrin, whose participation in the declaration of the Jubilee year was integral. In fact, it was the Sanhedrin’s blast of the shofar (ram's horn) on Yom Kippur which signaled the entry of the Jubilee year.

4.

The information in this response is taken from Encyclopedia Talmudit, vol. XXII, s.v. “Yovel.”

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson is a member of the Chabad.org Ask the Rabbi team.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Discussion (109)
July 8, 2014
Anonymous, I am familiar with Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel's prediction, but the dates that I believe are correct are founded in the Tanak and secular history. Primary among the scriptural sources is 2nd Kings 19:29 as the events in this passage are also recorded in history, the dates being 701 bc and 700 bc for the Sabbatical year followed by the Jubilee. As Cyrus of Texas has said, you can then extrapolate the correct dates forward and backward from these dates. When you do this, many other confirmations come to light. 2045 is the final, 120th Jubilee as described in B'reisheet 6:3.
Charles Reed
Graham, WA
June 24, 2014
Different Information...
Why the difference of information?
Pristine
USA
June 24, 2014
The last Jubilee year.
The next and last Jubilee year is 2045. 2016 is a Shmitah or Sabbatical year. The final Jubilee year is preceded by 2044 a Sabbatical year. The others are 2023, 2030, 2037 and 2044. If you want to you can trace all of these back to Adam on Earth. It is possible and it can be done with the Bible. I also suggest a book titled "The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings", by Edwin R. Thiele.
Cyrus
texas
June 23, 2014
According to Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel (1140-1217CE), the 120th Jubilee ends in 2017. In 1217, he gave a prophecy from G-d that was most likely sourced through the prophet Elijah that the final ten Jubilee periods would begin when the Ottomans control Jerusalem for eight Jubilees, then 'no man' for one Jubilee and finally Israel for one Jubilee totally ten. The Ottomans did control Jerusalem from 1517 to 1917, then 'no man' from 1917 to 1967 and finally Israel from 1967 to a projected 2017. After this, he prophesied that the Messianic Rule would commence. (Google his name to read more about this.) He has been right so far. We don't have to wait much longer to see if he will be right for the final time, but by the looks of what is taking place with the Islamists in the Middle East and the nations surrounding Israel, he certainly looks to be.
Anonymous
HI
April 8, 2014
Comment on possible corrections to 2045
Stevah, you are correct but for one thing. 2044 is the seventh Sabbatical year in the cycle. The Jubilee year is the 50th year following the seventh Sabbatical year, which is 2045. Leviticus 25:10 explains this and 2nd Kings 19:29 is an example of this, that there are two years that the land is to rest, the 49th and the 50th.The 50th year is also the 1st year of the next Sabbatical year. I disagree that Yom Teruah is the beginning of Shmitah year. Shemot (Exodus) chapter 12 establishes Aviv as the 1st month. This is important when coordinating historical events with the pattern of the Shmitah from Creation through the 120th Jubilee.
Charles Reed
Graham, WA
April 5, 2014
possible correction to 2045
Previously-"Briefly, the next Sabbatical year is 2016. This will be the third Sabbatical year in the current cycle of Sabbatical years toward the next Jubilee in 2045."
Yet, if 2016 is a Sabbath year, to which we add 28 years (4 more sabbath cycles) we come up with the year 2044, which would then be the 120th Jubilee. Also consider that the very beginning of that year of any Shmittah year is Yom Teruah. A day when special triggering events of Biblical proportion (spiritual and financial) can occur according to the Shmittah debt forgiveness cycle; as we have recently seen and will very likely see next time; to the chagrin of many.
Stevah
AZ
March 5, 2014
The Shmittah, or the Sabbaths were established at Creation. These Sabbaths include the seventh day Sabbath, the Sabbatical and the Jubilee years. In the greater sense, what is established in the 4th Commandment is a measure of time in patterns of 7, each marked by a coinciding period of rest. This pattern or cycle is established to provide a rest, a reset, a redemption for all of Creation and expresses the mercy and lovingkindness of the Creator. The fist day of life for Adam and Havvah was the 7th day, the Sabbath. It was the gift of the Creator to his creation. Adam and Havvah did nothing to earn it or deserve it.
Charles Reed
Graham, WA
March 4, 2014
To "annonimus"
Actually, Leviticus 25 tells us that the first Jubilee is to occur in the 50th year (verses 10-11) after the Israelites would enter the land (verse 2). The Torah does not name or mention any Jubilee years before that time. Some believe the Jubilee years start at creation and extend throughout time, but Scripture is silent to that. I know of no verse that specifically describes any Jubilee year before the 50th year AFTER the Exodus, and the first use of the word "Jubilee" is in Leviticus 25. I hope this helps.
Peter Nelson
La Mirada, CA
March 3, 2014
Sister Rickina Bailey
If you look back through this thread, I think you will find many answers to your questions. Briefly, the next Sabbatical year is 2016. This will be the third Sabbatical year in the current cycle of Sabbatical years toward the next Jubilee in 2045. 2045 will be the 120th Jubilee since Creation. This too is significant.
Charles Reed
Graham, WA
February 27, 2014
when is the year of jubillee
The Jews were freed from Egypt on the year of jubilee. If we count back to the year of exodus, we can figure it out. after 49 jubilee years we should be redeemed again God willing.
annonimus
New York
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