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  • David Hanan

Dvar Torah: Parshat Bahar

In this week's Parsha, Parshat Bahar, HaShem tells Mosheh that when B’nai Israel enter Eretz Israel they must observe the Shemitah year. The Shemitah year occurs every seven years and only applies to Eretz Israel. During this year, land is returned to its original owner and farming is forbidden, forcing the Jews to rely on the harvest from the previous year. Two questions one may ask about the laws of Shemitah are as follows: (1) why would land be returned to its original owners and (2) why would B'nai Yisrael be put in a position where they are unable to farm for a year, cutting off their main source of food? The answers are as follows: land is returned to its original owner in order to remind B'nai Yisrael that the real owner of the land is HaShem. This can be applied to all possessions, not just the land. Oftentimes we convince ourselves that what we have is solely a product of our hard work; the Shemitah year, however, teaches us that all our blessings are gifts from HaShem. This point is further illustrated by the rule that farming is forbidden during the Shemitah year. This forces individuals to be completely dependent on HaShem for a source of food. It simply shows that He is in control of everything. To summarize, the Shemitah year reminds us that all our possessions are gifts from God and we should be thankful for Him everyday.

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