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Hazon Shmita Blog

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Parshat Korach: The Taker, by Hannah Elovitz

Parshat Korach: The Taker, by Hannah Elovitz

June 8th, 2021

"As the climate crisis worsens, the ground opening up and swallowing Korach’s band does not feel as far-fetched as it once may have. The earth is not an endless supply of resources for our consumption, and greed will only exacerbate[...]

Shlach: Moving Forward with Faith, by Bruce Spierer

Shlach: Moving Forward with Faith, by Bruce Spierer

June 2nd, 2021

“Now if you should say to yourselves: What are we to eat in the seventh year? For we may not sow, we may not gather our produce! Then I will dispatch my blessing for you during the sixth year so[...]

Behaalotecha: Until Miryam Was Brought Back, by Dr. Gregory Mobley

Behaalotecha: Until Miryam Was Brought Back, by Dr. Gregory Mobley

May 26th, 2021

“and the people did not set out until Miryam was brought back”  (Numbers 12:15) I have a thing for stories so the section of Behaalotecha that attracted my attention was the scene in Numbers 12:1-16 in which Miryam is struck by[...]

Naso: Disciplining the Green Eyed Monster, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

Naso: Disciplining the Green Eyed Monster, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

May 19th, 2021

At one time or another we have all been visited by "the green eyed monster." Maybe you know someone who just bought a new car and you cannot afford a new car. Maybe a work colleague just received a promotion[...]

Bamidbar: Grow, Grow, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

Bamidbar: Grow, Grow, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

May 4th, 2021

I have always loved land. Although a city kid, from the time I was five years old, I remember wanting to live on a farm. I loved seeing things grow and planting seeds for food and flowers. Every plant to[...]

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Shmita & Parshat Behar Bechukotai 5781

May 4th, 2021

Please enjoy this week's video newsletter message. Full text transcript is below.  We were thinking we might try and send out some videos as well as just written words, and this week's parsha seemed like a great time to begin. (Leviticus 25:1)[...]

Behar-Bechukotai: Letting the Land Rest, by Rabbi Yonatan Neril

Behar-Bechukotai: Letting the Land Rest, by Rabbi Yonatan Neril

May 4th, 2021

Then shall the land make up for its Sabbatical years throughout the time that it is desolate and you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land rest and make up for its Sabbatical years. (Leviticus 26:34) Today,[...]

Emor: Holidays For The Haves – And The Have-Nots, by Dr. Jeremy Benstein

Emor: Holidays For The Haves – And The Have-Nots, by Dr. Jeremy Benstein

April 21st, 2021

Parashat Emor includes one of the Torah’s major accounts of the festival calendar. In Leviticus chapter 23, after the description of the Temple rites of Shavuot, the text repeats the commandments of peah and leket, to leave the corners of the fields and the[...]

Acharei-Kedoshim: Love is a Clean Slate, by Anna Dubey

Acharei-Kedoshim: Love is a Clean Slate, by Anna Dubey

April 21st, 2021

This week’s parsha, Acharei-Kedoshim, focuses on a number of ordinances about sanctification and holiness. Buried among laws of purification is a central tenet of Judaism: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך,” or “Love your fellow as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) In a Talmudic story I[...]

Tazria-Metzora: Seedtime, by Sue Salinger

Tazria-Metzora: Seedtime, by Sue Salinger

April 14th, 2021

Let’s locate ourselves in space and time to enter this poetic, symbolic story for personally reconnecting with the divine and repairing breaches to the god-field. Tazria-Metzora is the instruction manual for holy personal, communal, and sacred repair — for restoring[...]

Shemini: Respecting the Sanctity of Life, by Rabbi Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

Shemini: Respecting the Sanctity of Life, by Rabbi Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

April 7th, 2021

Back in my teen years, at our pre-Prom gathering at my friend’s house, I didn’t eat any of the shrimp cocktail that she had put out for us to eat. She praised my self-discipline. To me, though, this seemed natural[...]

Tzav: Hiddur Mitzvah - Are My Hands Clean? by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

Tzav: Hiddur Mitzvah - Are My Hands Clean? by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

March 23rd, 2021

We named our daughter Hadar.  She was born on Shabbat of parashat Tzav which contains a small and precious passage detailing the garments with which Moshe adorns Aharon for his service at the Temple.  The name Hadar shares a root[...]

Vayikra: Call Them In, by Rabbi Gila Caine

Vayikra: Call Them In, by Rabbi Gila Caine

March 15th, 2021

וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר׃ “And He called to Moshe and Adonai spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying….” (Lev. 1:1) Why first call and then speak? Why not go right to speaking? Talmud suggests that in this, the[...]

Vayakel-Pekudei: Work on Your Connection by Eli Weinbach

Vayakel-Pekudei: Work on Your Connection by Eli Weinbach

March 9th, 2021

Rest requires work. Without putting in the prep time, we may find that a day off is spent thinking about what has yet to be done. Without planning, vacation may not be much more exciting than staying home. Extended conversation[...]

Ki Tisa: Believe in Equality and Leave the REST to G-d by Dvir Cahana

Ki Tisa: Believe in Equality and Leave the REST to G-d by Dvir Cahana

March 4th, 2021

The story beats of Parshat Ki Tisa teach us two Shmita-esque concepts. The Parsha begins with the democratized call to cooperatively erect the Mishkan, where each individual was commanded to evenly contribute a half-shekel to the project. The purpose of[...]

Purim: Truths Revealed Over The Past Year by Melissa Hoffman

Purim: Truths Revealed Over The Past Year by Melissa Hoffman

February 22nd, 2021

Many of us anticipated this Purim as the approximate year-marker since our lives changed unimaginably. There’s something apt about the holiday that highlights the topsy-turvy nature of life bookending the beginning — and hopefully the beginning of the end —[...]

Terumah: Good Neighbors by Judry Subar

Terumah: Good Neighbors by Judry Subar

February 16th, 2021

Breathlessly, the first third of the Torah runs through stories of creation, accounts of love and rupture in the pre-Israelite and Israelite family, reports of slavery experienced and slavery escaped, and rules governing all sorts of circumstances.  Over the course[...]

Mishpatim: We All Live Downstream by Adriane Leveen

Mishpatim: We All Live Downstream by Adriane Leveen

February 9th, 2021

"We all live downstream." Those words, spoken by a member of a first nation community in the haunting film, The Condor and the Eagle, capture a simple truth we are too ready to forget. None of us will escape the[...]

Yitro: The Operating Manual by Deirdre Gabbay

Yitro: The Operating Manual by Deirdre Gabbay

February 2nd, 2021

Parshat Yitro, in the book of Exodus, contains the beginning of the story of the Revelation at Sinai. The story of Revelation begins here, but the telling unfolds in a complex, layered piece of narrative origami. The halakhic midrash of[...]

Beshalach: Redemption Song by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein

Beshalach: Redemption Song by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein

January 29th, 2021

It is Friday evening and the sun is just about the set. The synagogue is filled with a psalm and song-filled greeting for Her Majesty, the Shabbat Queen. After six long days of toiling, working, and serving,  we have finally[...]

Bo: Hyssop - The Paintbrush of Liberation, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

Bo: Hyssop - The Paintbrush of Liberation, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

January 20th, 2021

In parshat Bo, the destroying angel passes over the houses of the Israelites — in Hebrew “pasach al hapetach” — sparing their firstborn, and giving the Passover holiday its name in Hebrew and English. But the angel only “knows” who[...]

Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

January 12th, 2021

In Parshat Vaera, the action revolves around God’s command, through Moses, that Pharoah free the enslaved Israelites. Pharaoh's hard-headedness and selfishness preclude him from doing so immediately, and in response, God sends a series of plagues to Egypt. Dam, tzfarde'a,[...]

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

January 6th, 2021

This week’s parsha, Shemot, is the same Torah portion that I read from the bima at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI, thirteen-and-a-half years after officially claiming Judaism as an adult b’nai mitzvah. What a wonderful opportunity to be[...]

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

December 30th, 2020

This week, Jacob, like his father before him, sets out to bless his progeny. The first to receive his blessings are Joseph’s sons, the brothers Ephraim and Menashe. Those who have been following since Bereshit will know that being a[...]

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

December 23rd, 2020

Deep into the Joseph story, we come to a moment that catches my breath and makes me tear up every year. Joseph, sold to slavery long ago, stands now as the viceroy of Egypt. He has designed a system of[...]

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

December 16th, 2020

In the beginning, the world was a wild and chaotic place.  While the arc of the Genesis narrative bends relentlessly toward the taming of the chaos, progress is slow.  As the human species settles in for the long haul, its[...]

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

December 10th, 2020

Our story returns to tell us, “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan” (Gen. 37:1, JPS translation). Jacob’s father and grandfather had only ever been outsiders in the land in which[...]

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

December 3rd, 2020

2020 has been a year of unbelievable struggle. Between the devastating impact of Covid-19, the profound struggle for racial equality that erupted in nation-wide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the hyper-partisan election campaign that tore apart[...]

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

November 24th, 2020

Shmita is the seventh year, following six regular years — and numbers in the Torah are not incidental, but rather a channel for meaningful ideas. The first, and most renowned, appearance of the number seven is obviously the seven days[...]

Toldot: What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year? Shmita, Lack, and Abundance by Justin Goldstein

Toldot: What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year? Shmita, Lack, and Abundance by Justin Goldstein

November 17th, 2020

While the language may be a product of recent decades, the dichotomy between an “abundance mentality” and a “lack mentality” is a core human experience. The basic principles of these two concepts reflect a question of perspective; one who embodies[...]

Chayei Sarah: What does it mean to “own” land – and why is it important? by Nigel Savage

Chayei Sarah: What does it mean to “own” land – and why is it important? by Nigel Savage

November 10th, 2020

In my twenties I bought my first apartment in London. My parents lent me £5,000 for the deposit, and I got a mortgage for the rest. It was a 2-bedroomed apartment in Golders Green. I do no disservice to my[...]

Vayeirah: The Shaping of the Land by Eliezer Weinbach

Vayeirah: The Shaping of the Land by Eliezer Weinbach

November 4th, 2020

Inherent in the concept of Shmita is an understanding that as much as we toil to shape the land, the land shapes us as well. How does it shape a person to raise children where their great-grandparents were raised? How[...]

Lech-Lecha: Environmental Refugees by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Lech-Lecha: Environmental Refugees by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

October 29th, 2020

This week’s parashah, Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) heralds the emergence of the Jewish people. The story is inaugurated by a call from God directing Abra[ha]m to uproot himself and his family, leave his homeland, his memories, his childhood, all he[...]

Noah: In Search of Balance by Hannah Henza

Noah: In Search of Balance by Hannah Henza

October 22nd, 2020

The story of Noah is a tale that shows up in many ancient forms. But the lessons we learn from the various deluge narratives are more applicable today than perhaps ever before.  As the story opens, we are told that Noah[...]

Bereishit: The Sabbatical Paradigm by Jeremy Benstein

Bereishit: The Sabbatical Paradigm by Jeremy Benstein

October 14th, 2020

"And there was evening, and there was morning" (Gen. 1). Nature has rhythms. "Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Summer and winter, Day and night... " (Gen. 8).  Human society too has rhythms. Or at least it did, once. Traditional societies,[...]

Moving from the Real to the Ideal - Rabbi Dov Linzer

Moving from the Real to the Ideal - Rabbi Dov Linzer

August 18th, 2020

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in Shemot 23:11: “And six years you shall sow thy land, and shall gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year you shall relinquish it; that[...]

The Dream of Shmita - Deirdre Gabbay

The Dream of Shmita - Deirdre Gabbay

July 23rd, 2020

I have been wanting to write in response to the situation we are all in for several weeks, but each time I’ve begun, I’ve gotten confused and had to stop. There are so many facets of this time and situation[...]

Visions for Our New Land

Visions for Our New Land

April 4th, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019 | 28th Adar II, 5779 Dear All, I had asked Janna, Rebecca, and Shamu – leaders of our Adamah program – to write something for all of us, about the new land we have been able to buy[...]

Listen Ya'll! | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Listen Ya'll! | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

September 21st, 2018

by Alex Voynow, Jewish Farm School  Parshat Haazinu [NOTE: Applications for the next JOFEE Fellowship cohort are open now through October 5! Apply today!] In Ha’azinu, Moses sees the Israelites for who they are: humans, scarred by 40 years of impatient wandering and in[...]

Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

August 17th, 2018

by Jared Kaminsky, Shoresh Parshat Shoftim The parsha of the week is Shoftim, which means Judges. As Moses nears the end of his life, he wants to ensure there is a system of governance in society. Shoftim gives detailed ordinances on many topics[...]