A major focus of the Sedra is the concept of Shemittah – The Sabbatical Year. These laws, apply specifically to the Land of Israel. For six years one may work, use and benefit from the land, but for the seventh year, for the entire year, one must leave his land fallow – untouched and ownerless. Just as with the days of the week for Jewish People, this is the Shabbat for the land.
The Torah goes further by assuring us that those who obey the command and cease from working this land, will be rewarded with great success and sustenance. The Torah is making a bold statement calling us to have faith that even though the land goes untended and unkempt, even though our source of income and livelihood is potentially at risk, we must trust in God to protect and watch over us.
Imagine owning a busy and profitable retail business that has taken years to build up, and then for one year walking away from the flagship shop – leaving it unprotected and bare, for anyone to take what they want and for the store to be ransacked.
What is the purpose of this? We don’t understand its innate meaning and mechanics but we do know that it is the path chosen by God for us to guard and protect, but the one overriding factor is the necessity of our Emunah – our faith. We are being called on to show immense strength of faith. Faith that the money we have earned and saved until now will be enough to sustain and support us through this year, and that after the land will sufficiently return to its fertile state.
God is asking us to put our faith so to speak ‘on the table’ – to put our money where our mouth is! These laws which we have been given for our growth and connection to God, are now asking us to prove ourselves with an ultimate act of faith.
What better way to teach our children then by acting on our principles. We teach them the Torah and expect them to have faith in God and believe in our Jewish way of life, but now the Torah tells us to live it. Not to pay lip service in how we serve God, but to really live it.
This ‘faith’ that is demanded of us is something that can extend to all spheres of our life, if God forbid hard circumstances hit us, if we suffer some loss, this Sedra teaches us through the laws of Shemittah that these are opportunities for us to grow, seek and beseech Hashem to help us.