Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message
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Friday, May 27, 2016 • 7:05pm
• Our Portion for the Week •
BEHAR – Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2
In this portion, the Holiness Code continues with a group of laws that are to take effect when the Israelites enter the Promised Land. The people will be permitted to work the land for six years, but the seventh year is to be a Sabbatical year of complete rest for the land. In order to provide sufficient food, God promises that the crop of the sixth year will yield enough for three years. Further, after seven cycles of seven years, the 50th year is to be a Jubilee – a year of release for the land and all its inhabitants. There follow a series of laws concerning redemption of land and persons. The basic principle of land redemption is that all the land belongs to God, and human owners possess it only as land holding. It is not the owners' right to dispose of as they wish, and it cannot be permanently alienated. As for persons, if one had to indenture himself to work off debt, he was not to be abused and was to be redeemed as quickly as possible. The portion ends with a prohibition against idolatry and an admonition to keep God's Sabbaths.
• Our Question for the Week •
Do not wrong one another, but fear your God; for I the Lord am your God. (Leviticus 25:17)
Some say that wronging with words is worse than wronging with money. Do you agree? How far should a person go to avoid hurting another's feelings?
The rabbis prohibit a person who has no intention of buying from asking a merchant the price of his goods. Why do you think they did this? It is not uncommon today for a person planning to make a major purchase to visit local retailers to test drive cars or compare different big-screen TVs or even to try on many pairs of expensive shoes. Once the person knows exactly what he wants, he searches the internet to find the lowest price. Is this "wronging with words?" Do you think it is wrong?