Parsha Behar   



In this weeks parsha, Hashem commands, “In the Seventh year, you shall not sow your field” which is Mitzvah number 326. Here we are working for 6 years to provide for our families and suddenly we are told to stop and trust completely on Hashem. What is the purpose of Hashem doing this to us? Isn’t it asking too much of us to have such a high level of faith. Yes we can put a little extra aside the year before but it’s difficult enough to be a farmer especially in the Land of Israel.


            There are a couple of basic reasons for these mitzvos of Sh’mitta. First by observing them, the Jewish farmer is forced to turn directly to Hashem and entreat Him to provide with his sustenance. Secondly, Hashem intended the year to be one of inactivity from work so that the Jewish farmers could devote themselves to Torah Study. Also Hashem said, Rest in the seventh year so that you shall know that the Land is Mine. The farmers while following these commandments are forced to sit idly by while they see their hard work and farm land barren and possibly rot away.


            Maybe Hashem wants to show us that a person has to do their histadlus with everything in life but at the same time they have to know that whatever Hashem gives you, he can take it away just as easy. He also can turn a barren field into one flourishing with plenty. That is if you devote yourself to learning Torah and having Emunah.


            When a person stops their work in the seventh year of Sh’mitta it is a simon bracha for them and their family. In the same token, when a person stops their work to keep the holy Shabbos, they are bringing the same bracha to their household. Keeping Shabbos therefore increases ones emunah in Hashem. On Shabbos we must reflect upon our Emunah in Hashem and we must cast aside our worries of the 6 days of the week. During the Sh’mitta year, a farmer must do the same and cast out his worries and just think about his Emunah and draw himself closer to Hashem. 


            (MOSHE PL) Just as fish die the moment they are taken away from the water, so do people die the moment they take themselves away from Torah. And just like fish die when the sun scorches them, so is it with people”. There are those fish though who can continue to exist on dry land for a few hours. However, the moment the sun scorches them, they die. The same can be with a Torah Scholar. If he interrupts his study ONLY to seek a livelihood of the most basic essentials, and his mind is still always on Torah – then he will not die. But if he sinks into the mire of material pursuits and his heart burns with greed, which is compared to the sun, as it says, “with the bounty of the sun’s crops, “ and, ‘because the sun has scorched me, “ and these desires burn within him, then he immediately dies and is punished with Gehenom. ( Maalos HaTorah p. 77)


            The Zohar says, “The moment one ceases from Torah study for matters of this world, his life will cease from this world.” As it says, “What wrongdoing did your fathers find in Me that they went far from Me to run after vain pursuits?”(Yirmiyahu 2:5)


            Therefore, one must take the message of Sh’mitta to know that material gain and all one’s possessions come from Hashem. They don’t compare for one second to the gain from Torah. Therefore, one must know when to stop, have Emunah and learn Torah.