Ten Days of Teshuva

By Shalom Olensky


Moses blesses the Jews before his passing. Turning to his tribe, the Levites, Moses blesses them to be devout, to be devoted to the Torah completely, and to teach it to others.

Maimonides (in Mishneh Torah, conclusion of the Laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years):

The great devotion to the Torah, on the part of the Levites, is not limited to them alone. Any person who wishes to decline worldly pursuits and devote himself to the word of G-d and His commandments, becomes sanctified as holy of holies and shall receive his sustenance from G-d.


What does this statement, regarding everyone’s ability to be like a Levite, have to do with the end of the Laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years?

Taken simply:

Since the laws of the Sabbatical apply only to those who own land in the Land of Israel, and in the meantime, before the final Redemption, Levites do not own their own land there; rather they are allotted places to live etc. by the People of Israel, at the Torah’s behest, therefore, having mentioned this law, Maimonides explains the Levites’ great merit etc.

Perhaps, also:

During the Sabbatical year as well, since those owning land there must leave their fields fallow, the Jews as a whole, share a greater availability to devote themselves to the study of Torah. Hence the connection to the values of the tribe of Levi and their aspiring compatriots, to be devoted to the study of G-d’s Torah.


On this note, anyone, even if most of his hours are spent in seemingly mundane activities, can achieve the extreme devotion to Torah as a Levite; by insuring that during the hour that he does study Torah, he is completely involved so that there is nothing else “in his world” but the Torah. This will inspire his whole rest of the day.


During this year, based on the above, there should be an extra emphasis placed on the study of Torah, as this is connected to the observance of this year’s Sabbatical.

(The above are common themes in the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s teachings.)


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