Behar and Bechukosai- 2006

This week we read a double Parsha - Parshas Behar, and Parshas Bechukosai. - Parshas Behar begins with the laws of Shmittah Ė the Sabbatical year. Every seventh year, every Jewish landowner had to let his fields rest. This meant that he could not cultivate or work on any of his fields. Even produce that grew on its own could not be harvested by a farmer for himself. He had to allow his fields to be open for everyone, for whoever wanted to take its fruit. For those of us who donít own land in Israel, the mitzvah of shmittah would seem to have very little relevance. There is almost nothing we have to do different in the Shmittah year, except to make sure that any Israeli produce that we buy wasnít farmed during Shmittah. However, there is one very important lesson that does apply to each and every one of us. The Medrash compares those who keep the mitzvah of shmittah to angels. The commentaries explain that for a person to overcome their desires and keep a mitzvah one time, is one thing. However, to be able to watch oneís fields day after day, week after week, month after month, is a totally new type of strength. People who do that, are said to have the strength of angels. How could the Torah demand that of us? How could we be expected to have the strength of an angel? The Torah is teaching us a very important and great lesson here. Donít underestimate yourself!! The Jewish people have the strength of angels! The next time that you are faced with a challenge that is seems very hard, or are faced with a commandment that you arenít sure that you can do, donít sell yourself short! You Can Do It!! This lesson is one that applies in all times, to all people, in all situations.