Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Article on the Seventh Year

To Dvora Waysman and the Jewish Press.  Re: article about the Seventh Year
Thank you on your post about Shemittah. 
These are my comments.
I would like to see shemittah observed in the Spirit of Shabbat as suggested in the Torah.  Please visit
and read any of the posts of  Here you will find a novel approach that is venturing into unknown territory similar to how the Jews traveled in the desert.  They lived day to day depending on Hashem for their food.  They could not hoard their food.  The food had extra sanctity since it was manna from heaven. In fact the prayer for sustenance, Parnassa is the Parsha of the Manna.  Shemittah is Shabbat Haaretz and if kept properly will bring Am Yisroel blessings in Parnassa where we will  be the head and not the tail.  We will loan and not have to loan.   If Shemittah was observed properly we would be living in peace and security.  There must be something amiss since  Eretz Yisroel is surrounded by our enemies, Hamas, Hizbollah, El Queida, Fatah etc and the world is a dangerous place today.  Doesn't Hashem promise peace and security if we keep shemittah properly.  Hashem is true to keep His promises. Somehow the suggested ways of keeping Shemittah in our times don't have the spirit of Shabbat, of Meiyn Olam Haba, having a taste of the world to come. Keeping Shemittah as suggested in http://shemittahrediscovered, the blog, sounds like fun and in the spirit of Shabbos but is venturing in unknown economic and political territory. Living a kibbutz Lifestyle in a capitalist society is indeed scary.   What do you mean I will loan money and not be repaid!?!?  What's the point of working hard and then giving out loans and not getting my hard earned money back?!? That's why Hillel instituted Pruzbul you may add. 
In the Shemittah year we remember that it is not my strength or power that provides me with sustenance but G-d's.  Today, chemical, biological and nuclear threats abound not to mention hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes.  These threats are far scarier than the Shemittah scenario.  Let's at least brainstorm of how an Israeli economy or the government of Israel could run when debts are released and everyone is busy going to farms and picking food for themselves and partying.  A year of eating  for free is how the Torah describes it, not a year of not having anything decent to eat unless it's imported or cost a fortune or from produce that was grown on the Land (that was sold) during Shemittah.  The thought of buying produce from our most bitter enemies in Gaza  who would love nothing better than to see Eretz Yisroel obliterated and become Hamasland is quite sickening.  We really have no other option but to try to live Shemittah as the Torah truly intended, by partying and sharing rather than with a disaster like 911, the War in Lebanon, Hurricane Katrina etc.  where ultimately we were forced to share our resources.   Incidentally, 911 happened immediately following a Shemittah year.  So did the stock market crash in 1988.  The decision to destroy Gush Katif came after Pesach in the 4th year of the Shemittah cycle.  I wonder if the farmers said vidui maaser a Mtzvah that we read in Ki Savo when the farmers confess that they gave maaser as best as we could.  We have the unfortunate reality that we do not have a Beit Hamikdash and do not know who all the Kohanim or Leviim are. Hashem is aware of that. Hashem knows our limitations.  Even if you say nowadays, it is all Derabbanan is there a strong possibility that Hashem is finding  fault with us for not keeping these Mitzvoth properly given our circumstances!?
This is food for thought and should not be ignored.  May Hashem bless any person/media that has the courage to print/pass on this letter.
Robin Ticker

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