Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Behar/Bechukotai – בהר/בחקותי

To me, this week’s parshah is speaking about holiness and sanctity no less than the ones talking about the priests’ behavior. It is one of the parashiot that truly shows that the Gd of Israel is the Gd of everything and everyone. By His hand, the world is governed towards justice.

This justice starts with the land itself.

ב  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם–וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ, שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה. 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.

You think you deserve your rest?

The land is working for you non-stop

Let it breathe silently.

This mitzvah is teaching you so much!

Humility is one of the things we can take away. In our fast paced world, especially in the metropolises many of us live in, we strive and tend to achieve a lot. We work very hard for our bread and butter. Many of my immigrant friends both here and in Israel (the same was true for those of us who came to live in Moscow) tend to achieve things that all other things levelled have not been achieved by the “native” population. We cry and flight, and we succeed. However, looking back at our struggles, we tend to think that it was just out hard work that led to this success. We tend to selfishly look around and say “Yes, I worked hard, I deserve it!” We tend to forget about the One Who always remembers.

But He always does. Therefore, the food is there, even if we allow ourselves to break for a while, look around and appreciate the world He has given us.

  וְהָיְתָה שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ לָכֶם, לְאָכְלָה–לְךָ, וּלְעַבְדְּךָ וְלַאֲמָתֶךָ; וְלִשְׂכִירְךָ, וּלְתוֹשָׁבְךָ, הַגָּרִים, עִמָּךְ.

6 And the sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee;

ז  וְלִבְהֶמְתְּךָ–וְלַחַיָּה, אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצֶךָ:  תִּהְיֶה כָל-תְּבוּאָתָהּ, לֶאֱכֹל.

7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food.

The idea of the shemita is not only שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ (Shabbat for the land). Recently, it has taken a new life of its own. Interesting projects are run by Hazon to teach people and engage them in the observance of this mitzvah. 


יז  וְלֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת-עֲמִיתוֹ, וְיָרֵאתָ מֵאֱלֹהֶיךָ:  כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה, אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. 17 And ye shall not wrong one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I am the LORD your God.


כג  וְהָאָרֶץ, לֹא תִמָּכֵר לִצְמִתֻת–כִּי-לִי, הָאָרֶץ:  כִּי-גֵרִים וְתוֹשָׁבִים אַתֶּם, עִמָּדִי. 23 And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me.


לח  אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם–לָתֵת לָכֶם אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים.  {ס} 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God. {S}


נה  כִּי-לִי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, עֲבָדִים–עֲבָדַי הֵם, אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם:  אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. 55 For unto Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.


All of these psukim talk about the same idea. At least this is the way I see it:

You want to steal?

You want to kick your neighbour?

This is what I took you out for?

You are mine, your deeds are mine, and the land is mine

You better stick to the good behavior or I’ll kick you out!


May we have these words ring in our minds every time we say bad things about each other “You shall not wrong one another, but you shalt fear God”


Shabbat Shalom!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful Dvar Torah – Yashar Koah!

    Liked by 1 person

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