Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Behar Sinai / Bechukosai

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"HaShem spoke to Moshe at Mt. Sinai, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that when they come to the land which I am giving them, they shall let the land rest, a Sabbatical for HaShem. Six years you will seed your field, and six years you will prune your vineyard, and gather its produce. And in the seventh year will be a Sabbatical for the land, a Sabbatical for HaShem - you will not seed your field, and you will not prune your vineyard... And the land will give forth its fruit, and you will eat to satisfaction, and dwell securely upon it. And if you will ask, 'what will we eat in the seventh year? Behold we are not seeding nor gathering our crop!' I have commanded my blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will produce a crop to last three years." [25:1-4, 19-21]

Here Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) asks a question, which has been repeated countless times as the paradigm for "what has one thing to do with the other?" "Ma Shmitta Etzel Har Sinai?" - What do the laws of Shmitta, the Sabbatical of the Land, have to do with Mt. Sinai more than any other Mitzvah? The entire (Oral) Torah was given to Moshe at Mt. Sinai - so why the emphasis on Shmitta?

The above is a reprint of my post last year on this parsha, but now I would like to explore an entirely different answer, offered in the Kometz HaMincha L'Maharal Charif:

Some people have a conception of G-d as so high and exalted, ruling over the highest heavens, that it is beneath His dignity to trouble himself with the mundane affairs of our lowly physical world. The Maharal Charif explains that the commandment of Shmitta offers a response to the error made by these thinkers, and should train us to think otherwise.

The commandment of Shmitta and the corresponding blessing - the special crop of the sixth year - are very much tied to the physical world. Even though G-d is so high and mighty, or even better, because G-d is so high and mighty, He is concerned with the smallest detail of the lowest of His creations.

The best proof of this synthesis between G-d's height and humility is His choice of the mountain upon which He gave His Torah to the Jewish people. Sinai is not a tall and mighty mountain - to the contrary, it is itself lowly and modest. The mountain teaches us that G-d is indeed concerned with the low and humble, and is therefore the clearest proof to the commandment of Shmitta. No matter how low our situation, G-d is concerned for each of us, as well.


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 

ARTICLES ON TETZAVEH AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Maintaining our connection to God
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Early Warning System
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

The Elements of Purim
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

His Worst Nightmare Realized
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Can Span Generations
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

The Inner Amalek
Shlomo Katz - 5766

ArtScroll

The Stamp Of G-d
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Haman's Offer of Silver Shekels
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Lifting Our Cup of Salvation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Timeless Battle
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Too Humble?
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5768

His Worst Nightmare Realized
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

> You Can Do It!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

Amalek: Existence and Non-Existence
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Pure Oil
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Troubles Aren't Just a Good Reason to Pray
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information