Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Behar
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

Parashat Behar



Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Parshat B'Har opens with a discussion of the laws of Shmita and Yovel (which is also a Shmita).
Rashi questions the connection between the Sedra's title and this opening Mitzva, and makes the famous comment, "Mah inyan Shmita ayzel Har Sinai - what special connection does Shemita have to Mount Sinai?"

Rashi gives a puzzling answer: "Just as the laws of Shmita were given at Har Sinai, so ALL the Mitzvot and their particulars were delineated at Sinai." Uh, excuse me - ask all the commentators - why should Shmita be singled out as representative of all the Mitzvot? What is so unique and special about the Sabbatical Year?

I suggest to you that there IS something quite unique about Shmita. Of all the Mitzvot, none requires more Emuna than Shmita. For an agricultural society to stop all field work for one or two years is mind-boggling! How will we survive? Who will pay the bills? Amazingly, Hashem guarantees that He will provide enough food to carry us through the fallow years, if only we have faith.

It is this quality of Emuna which is a necessary component of all Mitzvot. To stop work on Shabbat, to strictly keep kosher, to purchase expensive Tefilin, Etrogim or Mezuzot, one must have faith that this is how Hashem wants us to conduct our lives.

Certainly, this faith-factor applies in the fullest sense to the Mitzva of living in Israel. You cannot live here without deep Emuna, without a rock-solid belief that our G-d gave His people a Land for all eternity where we can most fully express our Judaism. Security, stress, economic hardship: all the excuses are valid, yet they melt when met head-on by genuine Emuna.

Some people making Aliya fill their suitcases with white tuna, some with electronics, others with cash. I suggest we are better served by packing our bags with large does of Emuna.
This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
Aloh Na'aleh
POB 4337, Jerusalem 91042
Tel: 972-2-566-1181 ext. 320 ~ Fax: 972-2-566-1186

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