Behar 5763

Posted on March 23, 2011

by Avi Mark

It’s that time of year again: spring with summer rapidly approaching. Sure in many parts of the continent we are all still hesitant to say “spring is in the air” but I am not here to talk about the weather. I do know that spring is here because as with every spring I mark this wonderful season every night by counting the Omer.

Counting the Omer, I know it doesn’t seem so extravagant or spring-like, but it is very appropriate for this week. That is because this week’s parsha, Behar, contains the laws of both the sabbatical and jubilee years. Every seventh year the fields of Israel were not plowed but lay fallow for the year, this was necessary to keep the fields healthy give them time to rest and rejuvenate. I know we can all relate to the needs of these fields as it is late in the week and we are awaiting our seventh day, Shabbat, to provide us with our much needed well deserved R and R, rest and relaxation.

The big year for the trees, however, is the 50th year after 7 cycles of Sabbatical years and planting years this culmination year is the “Jubilee” a jubilant year of great joy and happiness. Much in the same way I am currently counting down a cycle of 7 “sabbaticals” of sorts leading up to one day of immense joy and celebration. Behar is really a great parsha that seems to be boring when you look at the vast laws and specifics regarding land and property, it is actually a reminder that we all need a break every now and then. Lucky for us we have a break built in to every week. So while some people look at the omer as a time of mourning and sadness, I remember each time I count “seven sabbatical cycles, until the end of the last week when it will be 50 days,” then the party begins.

So, everyone have a great Shabbat, go to shul, and learn about the land and property rights of debtors, and don’t get bored; love every minute of it, because its your time, your break and remember soon enough it will be Shavuot, and we will receive the torah again, and we will all have reason to celebrate.