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Torah Tidbits with Yael Bister, Tenth Grade Student

Yael Bister, Grade 10 Student

Parshat  Behar-Bechukotai

In these Parshas the Torah talks about ceasing the working of the land on the seventh year, known as the as Shmitta year. During this year it is forbidden for a farmer to work his land and any man and animal is able to eat the produce that is grows there throughout the year, as it is essentially ownerless.

In Vayikra 25:1-2 God says,

The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a sabbath of the LORD.

This Pasuk speaks about the Shmitta year and how all the Jewish people must observe it. However, why does it specifically mention that it was given on Mount Sinai? Weren’t all of the mitzvot given on Mount Sinai?

Rashi explains that on Mount Sinai all the halachot that were ever given to the Jews were explained in very minute details. The words "be har Sinai" here appear to be unnecessary because we already know where the Torah and Mitzvot come from. What this teaches us is that this mitzvah together with all of its details was taught at Mount Sinai, as were all of the other mitzvot.  Although the written Torah sometimes appears to not be very clear or it seems to be lacking in detail, more than just this aspect of the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. The Oral Law, which includes things such as the Mishna and the Talmud were also taught by Moshe at Matan Torah and passed down through the generations. It is up to each generation to understand these teachings and apply it to everyday life.  

The second Parsha read this week goes through all of the curses and punishments that we will endure if we fail to abide by Hashem’s commandments.  We know that the Torah is not in chronological order, however, there is significance in the fact that Shmetia and these punishments for disregarding Hashem are in the same weekly reading?  By trying to figure out what God wants us to do with his commandments and how to be a God-fearing Jew we are going to be exempt from his punishments. In the 21st Century, it is very hard to be a good Jew because we have all these societal pressures to be something we are not. However, by observing His commandments and studying Torah we will continue to be connected to Hashem and enjoy His blessings, such as those mentioned with the laws Shmitta.

Shabbat Shalom!

Yael Bister
Tenth Grade Student


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