Behar

“Parsha and Purpose” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780

“Parsha and Purpose” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

“Planting Seeds: Changing Ourselves and the World”

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Planting Seeds: Changing Ourselves and the World

This week, we’re introduced to this unbelievable, fascinating halacha about the sabbatical year.  And there is a fascinating law that shares with us a difference in mindsets, a difference between Shabbat and the sabbatical year. 

On Shabbat, if I take a seed and I plant it, and an hour later I remove the seed from the ground, I’ve still violated the prohibition of doing a creative action on Shabbat, even though the seed has not yet taken root.

With a sabbatical year, if I plant a seed, something that is prohibited during the sabbatical year, and a day later, before it takes root I remove the seed, I have not violated the sabbatical year.

Why is there this difference between Shabbat and the sabbatical year?

Let me suggest an answer that was written in the mid-1800s by Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochaczew, the Sochatchover Rebbe, in his Eglei Tal. He explains that on Shabbat, what counts is my melechet machshevet – my creative thought process. 

The fact that I have a picture in my mind that I want to plant a seed is sufficient to have violated the prohibition of not doing creative labor. 

On the sabbatical year, what counts is my influence over the world, and therefore it’s not enough to plant the seed. The seed needs to take root.

What a wonderful message for us! The idea that we have to live in both paradigms. 

The Shabbat paradigm, the melechet machshevet.  We have to be creative – and often our creative thoughts are really critical and really important in developing ourselves.  When we have a commitment to our own self-development, that commitment to that self-development that takes root in our mind is sufficient to be transformational.

But when we engage in the outside world, it’s not enough to have a mindset. It’s not enough for a seed to be planted in our mind, or for a seed to be planted. The action has to take root.  It’s not enough to think about helping my neighbor. I actually have to do something. 

We live on these two levels. We live in these two dimensions. The responsibility of celebrating the message of Shabbat every single day. Of having creative actions, creative mindsets, of making sure we improve ourselves, that new ideas take root in our mind. 

And our responsibility to engage in the world, the sabbatical paradigm.  To make sure that our actions really celebrate our commitment to changing the world, and the responsibility to do that. 

Shabbat Shalom, and may we always celebrate the Shabbat and the sabbatical paradigms in our life.

“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5780

Shabbat Shalom: Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin  Efrat, Israel –  “And you shall count for yourselves seven cycles of Sabbatical years, seven years, seven times… forty-nine years… you shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants; it shall be the Jubilee year for you.” (Leviticus 25:8-10) This …

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Parshat Behar: Freedom and Identity

Parshat Behar: Freedom and Identity By Rabbi Shlomo Wallfish, senior faculty at the Robert M. Beren Machanaim Hesder Yeshiva A person who sells his patrimony relinquishes his identity. No one would do so a priori. On the jubilee year, we realize that everything belongs to Hashem. Many stories and laws in the Torah are founded …

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“Shabbat Shalom” – Parshat Behar 5779

Shabbat Shalom: Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, telling him to speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land must be given a rest period, a sabbath to God. For six …

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“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Behukotai 5778

Parshat Behar-Behukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers”. (Lev.25:23) “You must not defile the Land upon which you live and in the midst of which I (God) dwell, since I (God), …

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“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar 5778

Parshat Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the Lord” (Lev. 25:2). What does it mean to be free? The first part of this week’s portion, Behar, begins with the laws of Shemitah, ordaining that …

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“Shabbat Shalom” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel — “I am the Lord your God who brought you forth from the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan to be your God.” Citing the verse above from this week’s Torah reading, our Sages make the striking declaration that only one who lives …

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“Parsha to the Point” – Behar-Bechukotai 5777

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34) Rabbi David Stav  This Shabbat, we’ll read Parshat Behar-Behukotai in our synagogues. Most of the social and economic issues in Biblical discourse and the Jewish world are addressed in this reading. The first part of the Torah portion discusses the laws of the Shmitta (Sabbatical) year, which recurs every seven …

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אור תורה: בהר תשע”ו

על צדק חלוקתי נעמי עיני היינו מאוד רוצים להרגיש טוב כאשר אנו עוזרים לזולת ומשפרים את תנאי חייו, אולם ריבונו של עולם לא מניח לנו לשגות בהרהורי גדלות ומורה לנו לתת כצו מגבוה. מדור פרשת השבוע של אתר כיפה, י”א אייר תשע”ו, 19/05/2016 בהר סיני ניתנה תורה. תורת אדם ואלוקיו ובין אדם לחברו. פרשת “בְּהַר” …

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