“Six years you shall sow your field... and harvest your crops, but the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of strict rest for the land, you must not sow your field...”

-Behar 25:1ff.

“If you wonder, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year...?’ I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year to yield crops for three years...”

-Ibid. 25:20-22

This passage, the mitzvah of shemitah (the Sabbatical year for the Land of Israel), may also be interpreted in context of the world at large and the redemption.

The six years of working the land are analogous to the first six millennia of the world’s existence when everything is prepared for the seventh millennium by means of Torah and mitzvot.

Our present generation is near the end of the sixth millennium. This raises an obvious question: why should our generation, which is qualitatively so much lower than all our predecessors, merit to experience the Messianic redemption? What makes us more worthy than the spiritual giants of the past that we shall usher in the “seventh year,” the “day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting”? In other words, we have a metaphorical paraphrase of the question “What will we eat in the seventh year. . .?”

The Divine response is: “I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year.” The stature and deeds of the earlier generations were indeed much greater than those of now. On the other hand, the present state of moral corruption throughout the world requires an unprecedented amount of fortitude and self-sacrifice to carry out even our minimal obligations. This lends our continued observance of Torah and mitzvot a quality and blessing superseding that of our predecessors. Thus we are more than worthy to experience the redemption.

We shall merit the “crops for three years,” i.e., of the three stages in the Messianic era: the initial redemption, the later stage of the resurrection of the dead, and the ultimate “seventh millennium.”