The Sabbatical Year: From the Practical to the Mystical

The Torah portion of Behar deals exclusively with the Shemittah (Sabbatical year), which falls every seven years, and the Yovel (the Jubilee year), which takes place every fifty years. The concept of Shemittah and the elucidation of its laws were considered so important that Shemittah is the only commandment to have an entire weekly Torah portion devoted to it. While the Sabbbatical year had fallen into disuse from both a conceptual and practical perspective over the last two thousand since the destruction of the Temple and the subsequent exile, in the last century renewed Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel has made it necessary to again observe and contemplate the practical and deeper implications of the seventh year.