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Perashat Behar 5779

Home > Rabbi's Weekly Message > Perashat Behar 5779

Perashat Behar 5779

Friday, May 24, 2019 Author: Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Our Perasha this week is all about resting, but it is not just the regular resting of Shabbat. The same way we have Shabbat every seven days, the land has Shabbat every seven years. It is kind of like dog years, where each human year is equal to seven years for Spot. So too, each DAY in the human cycle of Shabbat is equivalent to one YEAR in the land's cycle of Shabbat. Six days of work is six years of work for the land, and the one day of Shabbat equates to one year of Shemitta Shabbat.

שֵׁ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ תִּזְרַ֣ע שָׂדֶ֔ךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹ֣ר כַּרְמֶ֑ךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ֖ אֶת־תְּבוּאָתָֽהּ׃ וּבַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗ת שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַה'
Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. And in the seventh year the land shall have a Shabbat of complete rest, a Shabbat of Hashem.

The verses are a dead ringer for the pesukim which command us about the human Shabbat.
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל מְלַאכְתֶּךָ. ויום השביעי שבת לה' אלהיך לא תעשה כל מלאכה
Six days you shall labor and do all your work. And the seventh day will be a Shabbat for Hashem your God, you shall not do any work.

It's clear that the Torah wants to draw attention to this comparison to ensure that we understand that these two concepts are linked as one and the same. 

To ensure we don't mistakenly overlook this, Rashi comments: 
שבת לה'. לְשֵׁם ה', כְּשֵׁם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּשַׁבַּת בְּרֵאשִׁית 
This is a Shabbat for Hashem just like the Shabbat of Beresheet. 

What lies in the link that the Torah is trying so hard for us to notice? 

Today, in much of the world, people have come to the realization that a seven day work week is not the way to go. Whether it is Saturday, Sunday, Friday, or whenever, one day needs to be set aside for rest. 

As important as having the day off is, it is equally important to think about what we are going to do with that time away from our desks and offices. Rashi is telling us that Shemitta is like Shabbat Beresheet. On the very first Shabbat, Adam didn't need to sleep or rest up from a long week at the office. He had JUST been created that day! However, he did need to celebrate a Shabbat LaHashem. He needed to take a pause and reflect on the idea that all the beauty of the vast world he was now a part of was created by God. He could have thought that the world literally revolved around him; after all, there was no one else! But Shabbat was given to humanity so that Man could not be allowed to think that even for one day! 

It is that thought that is being driven home to us in our Perasha as well. You wonder how the world will continue without you at work. Guess what? It does. Stop stressing, Hashem's got the wheel.

Shabbat is like turning off your computer. You have four different options. You can go to "sleep", you can "hibernate", you can "shut down", or you can "restart". Which is our Shabbat? Do we sleep a bit more and go to the regular minyan instead of our normal early routine? Do we hibernate straight through the holy day, saving up our energy for a wild Saturday night out? Do we shut down and read our favorite books or newspapers and ignore our families? Or do we possibly restart, refresh ourselves, speak about our week, reconnect with family, learn and pray, and return invigorated and refreshed to a new week? 

The Torah is telling us that Shemitta is also a time to refresh yourself and return to the swing of things as a better you! That is why it is called a Sabbatical! 

Looking forward to seeing you all in Shul refreshed, excited and raring to go, prepared to conquer your new world and week!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

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