Learn more about shmita and the Shmita Project with Rabbi Nate DeGroot.
Shmita: Ancient Sabbatical, Society Reset
The Torah commands us to let the earth lie fallow every seventh year while engaging with a deep societal reevaluation and radical justice-based reset. What are the deep truths being passed to us by this commandment, and what does it mean to us today? This session will begin with an introduction to the basics of the ancient sabbatical. After engaging with source texts and concepts, participants will be given time and support to apply shmita values to their own modern, Jewish organizational contexts. No prior knowledge of shmita is required to participate fully.
The Shmita Year invites us to rethink the world that we live in and to tune into the ways in which we can actively make a difference. During this seventh year, God commands us to let the land rest, release debts, resolve disputes, and to open our hands and hearts to those in need. But how do we bring this tradition alive in an era when we no longer rely on the rhythms and harvest of our fields to survive.
In other words: we don’t simply want to raise awareness of shmita. We also want to explore the ways that traditional teachings about shmita shed light on a significant range of contemporary issues that are directly or indirectly referenced in the concept of “shmita,” including rest and work, relationship to land, relationship to community, relationship to debt and debt relief, definitions of community, and the issue of consumption itself.