Thursday 19 May 2022

Shabbos Tzetl: Behar

4:58pm - Candle Lighting, Friday
5:57pm - Havdalah, Saturday
(Melbourne Australia)
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Shabbat Shalom! 

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Leviticus 25:1–26:2
On the mountain of Sinai, G‑d communicates to Moses the laws of the Sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all, man and beast.

Seven Sabbatical cycles are followed by a fiftieth year—the Jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all indentured servants are set free, and all ancestral estates in the Holy Land that have been sold revert to their original owners.

Behar also contains additional laws governing the sale of lands, and the prohibitions against fraud and usury.

Jeremiah 32:6-22.

This week's haftorah discusses the purchase of a field by Jeremiah, echoing one of the themes of this week's Torah portion—the purchase and redemption of real estate.

Jeremiah was confined in King Zedekiah's royal compound for having prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people. There, G‑d revealed Himself to the prophet and informs him that he will be approached by his cousin Hanamel with an offer to purchase his ancestral lands. G‑d instructs Jeremiah to accept this offer.

Indeed, Hanamel arrived in the compound with the offer, and Jeremiah accepted. Money was transferred and a document of purchase was penned in the presence of witnesses. The prophet then gavs the deed to his disciple Baruch son of Neriah for safekeeping, and instructed him to store it in an earthenware vessel where it will remain for many years.

Jeremiah then conveys G‑d's message, the symbolism inherent in this transaction: "So says the L-rd of Hosts, the G‑d of Israel: 'Houses and fields and vineyards shall be purchased again in this land.'" Thus conveying a message of hope even on the eve of destruction and exile. Yes the Jews would be exiled, but they would also eventually be returned to their land.

The haftorah ends with the prophet's prayer to and exaltation of G‑d.


G‑d spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying . . . (Leviticus 25:1)

What has the Sabbatical year to do with Mount Sinai? Were not all commandments given on Sinai? But the verse wishes to tell us: just as with the Sabbatical year both its general principle and its minute details were ordained on Mount Sinai, so, too, was it with all the commandments—their general principles as well as their minute details were ordained on Mount Sinai.

(Torat Kohanim; Rashi)

Rabbi Ishmael says: The general principles of the Torah were given at Sinai, and the details [when G‑d spoke to Moses] in the Tent of Meeting.

Rabbi Akiva says: The general principles and the details were given at Sinai. They were then repeated in the Tent of Meeting, and enjoined a third time in the Plains of Moab (i.e., in Moses' narrative in the book of Deuteronomy).

(Talmud, Chagigah 6a–b)

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