Shabbat Chazak/Shabbat Mevarchim
Friday, May 18
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 07:00 pm – Mincha
- 07:44 pm – Candle lighting
Saturday, May 19
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 08:59 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:30 am – Shabbat Chazak Luncheon
- 04:45 pm – Ladies’ class: Pareve Food and Shavuot
- 06:30 pm – Men’s class: Derech Hashem
- 07:20 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
- 08:40 pm – Ma’ariv
- 08:54 pm – Shabbat Ends
May 20 – 25
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday, Tuesday (Rosh Chodesh), and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Wednesday and Friday
- 07:50 pm – Sunday – Thursday
- 07:00 pm – Friday
- 08:20 pm – Sunday – Thursday
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Weekly Words of Torah
A Matter of Perspective
Insights into Parshat Behar-Bechukotai of Mr. Zach Greenberg of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
The beginning of this week’s Parsha deals with the laws of Shemitah, a sabbatical every 7th year in which no farming is done. The Or Hachaim (as explained in Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darkei Mordechai) brings down the question that was asked by Chazal: The first Pasuk, as seen many times in the Torah, is Hashem spoke to Moses saying- but in our Parsha, it mentions where this conversation took place- Har Sinai. Why did the Torah specifically cite Har Sinai when conferring the obligation of Shemitah? What’s the connection?
The Or Hachaim explains that there is an intrinsic connection between Har Sinai and Shemitah. The receiving of the Torah at Har Sinai is the condition or prerequisite to being able to live in Eretz Yisrael. If Am Yisrael guards the Torah, then they will merit a peaceful dwelling in the land, but if they fail to adhere then the land will spit them out. Therefore, by Shemitah it seems fit that we have the notion of Har Sinai fresh in our heads as a reminder to put the Torah first and then we will inherit the land.
However, there’s also another catch. Hashem, in His infinite kindness, gave the Jews the beautiful land of Israel; but only for 6 years, and not more. In the seventh year, the Shemitah year, the land belongs to Hashem Himself, and not to Bnei Yisrael. What is the purpose of this, though? Would the Jews forget where they got this land from? The Gemara in Sanhedrin 39A discusses a discourse where Rav Huna’s students ask him what is the reason of Shemitah. He responds that Hashem told Am Yisrael as follows: “Sow the land for six years but rest on the seventh to know that the land is mine.” Rashi comments that the reason behind the off year is so that the nation would not be filled with pride of the produce of their land and forget where it really came from. Essentially, the Shemitah year is all about keeping perspective. We might have seen the beautiful produce, raise our hands up high and say “Kochi v’etzem yadi (my strength and the work of my hands)”! How great we are!
The abolition of this thought process is the reason for Shemitah; so that Am Yisrael will remember who gave them the incredible produce they just enjoyed for the past six years. The whole time it was Hashem who gave strength to the land and enabled the beautiful fruits to materialize. And when the farmers sit in the seventh year and ask themselves from where will they get produce this year since they can’t work their land? They then remember that Hashem bestowed a blessed crop for the sixth year, so that they will have food to eat during the Shemitah year.
The key yesod (foundation) of the Or Hachaim is that Shemitah is a step back for us. A time to issue Hakarat Hatov (gratitude) to Hashem. Tendency of man is to take for granted and believe that we deserve it. This year gives us a chance to stop and appreciate all the miracles Hakadosh Baruch Hu does for us.