Parashiot Behar (On mount) &Bechukotai (in My Statues)

Parashiot Behar (On mount) &Bechukotai (in My Statues)
Leviticus 25:1-26:2 & 26:3-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Shabbat Chazak

In this week’s Torah portion we learn that there is not just a weekly Shabbat, but also a special Shabbat for the Land of Israel. In the same way that one may work six days and the seventh day is a rest day, so too one may work the land for six years, but the seventh year is a special year called the shemittah year. During the shemittah year the land must lay fallow. There are many important laws in regard to the observing the shemittah year. We also learn this week that after the cycle of seven shemittot, there is a special year called the Jubilee. Once again there are many laws connected with observing the Jubilee. The purpose of this brief article is not to speak about either the shemittah or the Jubilee, but what we read about Shabbats (weekly Shabbat, shemittah, and Jubilee) in general at the end of parashat behar,

“My Sabbaths you shall observe and My Sanctuary you shall revere— I am HaShem.”  Lev. 26:2

It is clear from this verse that the word of G-d is showing a connection between the various Shabbats that were discussed in this week’s Torah reading and the Temple. It is important that one understand that it is not the building itself which is being emphasized, but the fact that G-d Himself dwelt in the Temple. In other words, there is a relationship between Shabbat (s) and the presence / intimacy of G-d. I have said in another article that Shabbat causes one to order his life differently; that is, it assists in placing one upon G-d’s schedule. I have found that throughout the week I constantly have upon my mind that Shabbat is approaching and I need to plan for it in much the same way that one plans for a special event or activity that will occur during the week.

Shabbat increases my awareness of G-d and His presence in my life. Because most of the world does not acknowledge the Shabbat, it also reminds me that through my faith, I am different from the rest of the world. Peter instructs the believer,
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” I Peter 2:11

Shabbat serves as a weekly reminder that I am not to conform to the ways of this world, but to the standards that HaShem has revealed through His word. When I embrace Shabbat I find that it is not a once in a week experience, but helps me remain mindful of G-d and thereby experience Him throughout the week. It is this intimacy with G-d that brings about the changes in my life that keeps me moving forward with G-d, rather than being pulled back by this world.

Shabbat Shalom

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