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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U’Pashtei Parshas Behar Bechukosai

Make Sure You Care

The mitzvos of shemittah and yovel discussed in Parshas Behar are treated by the Torah with more gravity than many other mitzvos. The pasuk states that the punishment for disregarding theses laws is nothing short of Exile; Then, the land will be appeased of its shemittos, all the days of the destruction, and you will be in the land of your enemies; then the Land will rest etc. Indeed, Galus Bavel lasted exactly seventy years, equal to the amount of shemittos and yovelos that were not properly observed during the times of the first Beis HaMikdash. Rashi tallies these years as follows: There were 436 years that Klal Yisroel were in Eretz Yisrael and did not keep these mitzvos properly. For every hundred years, there are fourteen shemittos and two yovel years. So, in four hundred years, there were sixty-four years when the laws were not kept. In the remaining 36 years there are five shemittos, bringing the total to 69 years that were “owed”. Because the nation had begun the next seven-year cycle without intent to keep shemittah, when the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash interrupted their count, they were punished for this last year as well. This brought the total to the 70 years of exile. What we must take note of here is that all eight yovel years of the 436-year period are counted. But the laws of yovel are different than those of shemittah in that while shemittah takes place in the Land no matter what the circumstances, yovel has certain conditions that must be met in order for the year to be sanctified as yovel. If any one of the three laws of abolishment of outstanding loans, the return of ancestral land, or the emancipation of Jewish slaves will not take place, yovel is not declared! Thus, while mathematically speaking the calculation Rashi presents is sound, who is to say that yovel was actually declared in some of those later yovels? During the First Temple era there were times were Klal Yisrael were led by wicked kings who served idols, and some who dragged the nation along with them in their sinful ways. There were many people who did not observe the Torah, and the laws of yovel would likely. have been among the first to go! Why then is it so simple that the yovel years should be counted in calculating the exile. The answer is that Klal Yisroel were punished for yovel regardless because they were so indifferent to Hashem’s will that they never bothered to investigate if yovel should be declared or not. If they would have cared to look into it, perhaps they would have seen that yovel should be skipped for one reason or another, but they didn’t care that much. They were so far from the dedication one needs to live as a Torah Jew that it made no difference to them to take the time to check if yovel should be declared or not. And this indifference ended up costing them years in a dark and terrible Exile! This lesson lives on for us today as well. Do we take the time needed to learn how to grow and overcome obstacles in our avodah? Do we push ourselves to become better people whenever possible; to perfect our observance and fulfill the mitzvosproperly? There are many things a person can hide behind that will quiet his conscience and allow him to continue on with his life as usual. But not to care; not to want to be better and to grow, is unacceptable. When a person has this attitude, growth in Torah and mitzvos is almost impossible. Hashem exiled his nation because they didn’t care. Let us make sure to remain cognizant of what Hashem wants us to do. A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


https://files.constantcontact.com/c9410498701/ba95a7a9-c741-4c8a-aa42-f4a439032d1b.pdf

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