Parshas Behar – A Law Taught At Sinai

By Shalom Olensky


This week in the Torah:

The Torah commands landowners in the Holy Land to desist from working the fields, orchards, etc. for one year out of every seven years. The Torah makes note here of the fact that this commandment was taught at Sinai.


This special mention of Sinai, regarding the commandment of the Sabbatical year, teaches us that just like the Sabbatical year, all commandments of the Torah were taught in detail at Sinai.


To teach us that all the commandments were taught in detail at Sinai, the Torah chooses as an example specifically the commandment of the Sabbatical year. Why? Does this mean that the commandment of the Sabbatical year carries general import for all of Torah? If so, how?


The Sabbatical year represents leaving worldliness behind, once in a while, for a mental space that is otherworldly, spiritual, and purely G-dly. However, this does not leave the world behind in actuality. The other six years are meant to include dealing with worldliness. Specifically by working in the world properly, in accordance with Torah law, can one truly, once in a while, be able to leave the worldly state. And in fact, the purpose of this “Sabbatical” is so as to be able to re-enter the world with spiritual fortitude, allowing one to properly deal with nature and cleanse it and purify it. In this commandment, then, we see the connection between the physical and the spiritual, each one being dependent on the other.


Hence, the inner meaning of the Sabbatical year is identical with the method of all of Torah observance. For, while every bit of Torah, Mitzvah and Prayer is meant to be spiritual, it must be fulfilled in exact accordance with the physical parameters of the Torah’s instructions. And for this combination of the spiritual and the physical we are empowered by “Sinai,” which although humbly lower than all mountains, making it spiritual, it is still a mountain, having physical presence.

Through this mode of service, we may fulfill G-d’s desire to have a dwelling for Himself, blessed is He, in the lowest realms.

(Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. 1, Behar)


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