The Seventh Year

By Timna Mekaiten, Community Shlicha

We are now starting fresh; a new year, a new beginning. And this year is more special than most, this year is a seventh year, a year of Shmitah.

According to the biblical law, the land of Israel is to lie unplowed and untouched this year.

 But on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat.” Exodus 23:11

During this time the land will renew itself, while the food is up for grabs for all who need it. All debts are to be cancelled and even slaves are to be released after a seventh year of ownership.

These laws were part of an extensive program for preserving a balanced distribution of resources across society, to take care of each other – and to keep the balance of nature.

This is a year of rest and kindness, a year that reminds us to be respectful for the land we use and to the people among us. This is a year where we are reminded that we are all part of that same big mystical universe that holds everything together. We are creation.

The Shmitah fallow is to remind us of the synergy we have with each other, that we are one system and should always take care of each and every one of us – the strong and the rich, the weak and the poor.

And who knows better than us? This past summer, Israel received more love than possible, more support than ever. We were reminded of what a community is.

With all that is happening in the world, let’s be a constant reminder of kindness, let’s renew our energies and grow stronger -- together and alone. Let’s leave our mundane issues aside and make room for some Neshama, soul.

This year we shall continue to be a light onto the nations, with a fallow in heart. I wish that this year we will spread love among the creation and remove all anger, so this year of fallow may be a year of peace too.

For all of you, I wish Shana Tova- a happy, healthy and peaceful year.


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