D’var Torah: May 27, 2016

Dear Friends,

B’har, Leviticus 25:1-26:16 Lev 25:23-24.

The Land shall not be sold forever, for the land is Mine (God’s), for you are strangers and sojourners as far as I am concerned and therefore shall be a time of redemption for all your hereditary lands.

From Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life:

Parshat Behar discusses the sabbatical year and the jubilee year. The Israelites are told that they may sow their fields and prune their vineyards for six years, but during the seventh year the land must be given a complete Sabbath year of rest. During this year, the people can eat what the land happens to produce, but can do nothing extra to have it yield its fruits. During the sabbatical year, all debts are to be forgiven. Likewise, every 50th year is the jubilee year, in which no work can be done in the fields. During the jubilee year, any properties purchased during the previous 49 years are to be returned to the descendants of those who were given the land at the time the Israelites originally entered.

Just a few days ago, we here at RTR truly understood the meaning of a lack of permanence. On Sunday morning at the service for the deconsecration of Temple Beth El’s sanctuary and the walking of the Torahs from Spring Valley to Nyack, those that were there felt that jolt of reality. “The Land shall not be sold forever, for the land is Mine.” This is a great lesson. There is a humbleness required for ownership, recognition of the idea that nothing, absolutely nothing can or will be permanent in our world. No matter how settled we feel, God reminds us in parshat b’har that all we own is but borrowed for a set time and can and will be reclaimed. We are as “strangers and sojourners” in our own homes because all we own is granted to us by God. Nothing is permanent and our times of stability are granted to us by the Source of Blessing.

Click to see a video clip of the Torah march.

And as the Torahs arrived in Nyack, the combined RTR community joyously greeted them with song, dance and jubilation. Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik! From strength to strength we strengthen one another!

Shabbat Shalom,

Cantor Arlene Frank