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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 (104)
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
February 27, 2014
ok if the year of jubilee were counted when would it be?
I can see form all that was written above that their is "reasons" for not celebrating the Year of jubilee. I personally would like to know what is the date for my own personal use. I was reading in Leviticus chapters 25-26 and I wanted to now because their is important liberty, freedom, restoration, hope, and principles in this. I read here that it is every 49th year, but in Leviticus there was also a no sowing crops, and no reaping crops every 7th year. It would be nice to know that year as well so I can put it to practice on my garden. Thanks for your service to the Lord
Sister Rickina Bailey
Springfield, Oregon, U.S.A.
February 20, 2014
The Jubilee is not optional
The Jubilee is part of the whole Sabbath framework, like crop rotation and fallowing of fields. The Sabbath is not just Friday evening to Saturday evening. The Sabbath is a realm of its own dimensions that entwines herself into the functioning of the Universe. Shabbat is the only interface between G-d and creation.

Jews are chosen to introduce Shabbat to the world, and Universe. The Jubilee is part of the Shabbat realm. Economic implosions observed by Kondratieff occurs every 70 years - after each 20 year latency, Shabbat decided by physical laws of the Universe, to have the Jubilee observe itself.

If you are an engineer involved in dynamic systems, you would realise all the quiescent points you introduce into the system to stabilise it. The blueprint of the temple of Yehezkiel is a paradigm of the Shabbat network of relationships that the world would one day understand - then they would ask why we had delayed building the Temple. Saudis would throw money at our feet to build it.
Cynthia Avishegnath
Irving, TX
January 22, 2014
re Jubilee and the mishcan
Good question, Shoshana, on the Temple. I don't have an answer other than I would like to see it built. But other questions pop up with the Temple such as the Temple furniture, especially the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar. Do we have to find the originals, can others be made, do animal sacrifices need to resume? etc. On your calendar comment, the current Hebrew Calendar is a lunar calendar with every month beginning at New Moon (or as close to the new moon as the calendar rules will allow).
Peter Nelson
La Mirada, CA
January 22, 2014
re Jubilee - Charles Reed
Your calculation for the time from the Exodus to the 4th of Solomon's reign and much of your Jubilee theory hinges greatly on the interpretation of Genesis 6:3. This verse does not mention Jubilees and it seems it could mean several things like 1) man's lifespan (I don't like this one either) or 2) that G-d spoke these words to Noah exactly 120 years before the Flood (this is the one I favor). The reason I favor this second option is that G-d's Spirit had been contending with man for centuries up to that point in the form of the Cherubim guarding the way to the Tree of Life in the Garden. Do you have any other evidence or corroboration to support a Jubilee count interpretation for this verse?
Peter Nelson
La Mirada, CA
January 20, 2014
Fixing a Date for Jubilee
Charles - I'm looking forward to your explanation of the "70", but in trying to establish the Jubilee pattern, what is the rationale for a 1379BC Exodus? I have read about dates from c. 1250BC to 1491BC for the Exodus. Also, wasn't the time in the desert a total of 40 years not 42 since Deut. 2:14 says it was 38 years from the evil report to a point in the 40th year? In my own study of the chronology and Jubilees, I came upon 1485BC for the Exodus and, at a thrill for me at least, discovered that the establishment of the modern Jewish State falls at the 70th Jubilee since the Exodus. I would appreciate your comments in these areas as we compare notes. (By the way, I totally agree with you on the method of counting Jubilees as always following every 7th Sabbath Year and thus occurring every 49 actual years with any given Jubilee being the 50th year with respect to the previous 49 yr Sabbath period.)
Peter Nelson
La Mirada, CA
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