In Parashat Behar
, even though the Israelites are still wandering the desert, G-d describes to Moses the original rules for sustainable farming.
Every seven years farmers must rest their land for one year (shemitah), similar to a Sabbath for the fields. During this year, farmers must leave all crops to fall on their own and lay there for everyone’s taking.
Every seven shemitahs, farmers must rest their land for one year (jubilee). During this super Sabbath, any land that was sold or rented must be returned to the original owner and all Jewish slaves are to be freed.
This ensures that everyone has a piece of the promised land and serves as a reminder that it is G-d’s land and that we need to respect it.
As we finish up the school year, Parashat Behar reminds us to recognize the significance of timing and restoration. Summer serves as a sort of shemitah for many of our continuing students and a jubilee for our seniors. This time allows for rejuvenation and processing, and is significant for future growth.
As staff, we can take the summer to appreciate the previous year and plan for the next in order to create a more sustainable Hillel. So, as the year ends ask yourself what do you need to sustain yourself before the next year and take the time to do it so that you may flourish during the next year. Naomi Rich is the Jewish Student Life Coordinator Hillel 818.