Shemitah

June 21, 2006

[pl. “Shemitot’]; the seven-year cycle affecting the agricultural and the business world of the Jew. It is based on the Biblical verse “But the Seventh Year shall be a Complete Rest for the Land, a Shabbat for Hashem; your field you shall not sow and your vineyard you shall not prune.” (“VaYikra”/Leviticus 25:4)

It is analogous to the observance of the Shabbat, in that it is considered a “Year of Rest” for the Land and for Society. In the seventh year, the Shemitah Year, no plowing, planting or harvesting may be done. It is the Sabbatical Year. In business, all debts are cancelled.

It is also a test of faith for the Jewish farmer, who has to rely on the produce of the Sixth Year to tide him and his family over through the Sixth, throughout the entire Seventh and till at least Nisan of the Eighth Year, when the Winter Wheat will have grown.

Spiritually, the nature of the test is to show recognition of the fact that “the Earth is the L-rd’s and the fullness thereof,” and, even if I “own” a huge property according to the Real Estate records, I know Who the real Owner is.