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Shmita Blog

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V'Zot Habracha & Hakhel: How The Torah Ends The Shmita Year by Rabbi Yonah Berman

V'Zot Habracha & Hakhel: How The Torah Ends The Shmita Year by Rabbi Yonah Berman

October 13th, 2022

"Joining together with our People, and remembering a place and time before we had our own land, we are being called to maintain the sanctity of humanity and creation." The final parsha in the Torah, V’Zot Habracha, is unique in that[...]

Ha'azinu: The Idolatry Of The Denier, by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff

Ha'azinu: The Idolatry Of The Denier, by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff

October 6th, 2022

"We are growing closer to our last chance to turn our attention back to the earth and its needs, for our beliefs to become re-rooted in reality." What is sacred to a climate denier? What do they worship? They privilege pseudo-science[...]

Vayelech: Is This The End Of Shmita? by Rabbi Petakya Lichtenstein

Vayelech: Is This The End Of Shmita? by Rabbi Petakya Lichtenstein

September 28th, 2022

"What is being born when something is ending and what is ending when something is being born?" This week is the last week of the 7 year sabbatical cycle called Shmita. The portion of Torah read this week, as the year[...]

Nitzavim: Keep It Real - Don’t Overthink It! by Rabbi Benjamin Shalva

Nitzavim: Keep It Real - Don’t Overthink It! by Rabbi Benjamin Shalva

September 21st, 2022

"The shmita year is nearly ended, but not quite. There is still time. Time to pause. Time to pray."  "And in the night My father came to me And held me to his chest He said there's not much more that you can do Go[...]

Ki Tavo: Property, Shmita And Learning To Fly, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Ki Tavo: Property, Shmita And Learning To Fly, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

September 13th, 2022

"You can only give what is yours." Parshat Ki Tavo opens with the commandment of bikkurim. It continues with related agricultural commandments and a commandment to inscribe the Torah on large stones. The sages add that this was made in 70[...]

Ki Tetze: Mitzvot To Combat Bad Habits And Destructive Behaviors, by Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair

Ki Tetze: Mitzvot To Combat Bad Habits And Destructive Behaviors, by Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair

September 7th, 2022

"Shmita too can loosen the sway of addictive patterns of consumption." Parshat Ki Tetze begins with two mitzvot that the rabbis characterize as countering addiction. The first, of these, the laws of the female captive, challenges and attempts to moderate the[...]

Shoftim: On the Spiritual Tension of Shmita, By Dr. Tamar R. Marvin

Shoftim: On the Spiritual Tension of Shmita, By Dr. Tamar R. Marvin

August 31st, 2022

“For is the tree of the field like a human?” Shmita is riven with tension. On the one hand, it is introduced to us in Parashat Behar as a Shabbat of the land: ve-shavta ha-aretz Shabbat la-Shem—“the land shall abstain in[...]

Re’eh, Rosh Hodesh Elul: The Expansiveness of Freedom by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

Re’eh, Rosh Hodesh Elul: The Expansiveness of Freedom by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

August 24th, 2022

"In releasing the land, our finances, and our fellows to freedom, we free ourselves as well, and this freedom ripples out in expansiveness and life." The new month of Elul famously opens us to a time of renewed intimacy. As we[...]

Ekev: It Is A Land Which Hashem Your God Looks After, by Rabbanit Michal Kohane

Ekev: It Is A Land Which Hashem Your God Looks After, by Rabbanit Michal Kohane

August 19th, 2022

"In dealing with the land – working it, taking care of it, making it bloom - we have to be constantly connected to the Divine." The Torah portion of Ekev, the 3rd in the last book of the Torah, stretches from[...]

Va-Etḥanan, Shabbat Naḥamu, and Tu Be-Av: With  Heaven And Earth As Our Witness, By Rabbi Louis Polisson

Va-Etḥanan, Shabbat Naḥamu, and Tu Be-Av: With Heaven And Earth As Our Witness, By Rabbi Louis Polisson

August 10th, 2022

"If you know you have harmed the earth, know that you can heal it." On Shabbat Naḥamu, the Sabbath of Comfort the week after Tish’ah B’Av, we read Parashat Va-Etḥanan. Though Shabbat Naḥamu is about consolation and healing after lamenting Jewish[...]