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Sabbath Torah reading Iyyar 10, 5771

The Torah reading today, Iyyar 10, 5771 (May 14 2011) in the synagogue is called Behar Leviticus 25:1-26:2

It is the shemittah year when the Jewish year is exactly divisible by 7. The last shemittah year was 5768, the next one is 5775. Some bypass this requirement by selling their land to non-Jews for the year. There are a number of other approaches to bypass/”fulfil” the Torah’s requirements, especially in Israel. There has also been growing fear that the “temporary” sales of Jewish land to non-Jewish in Israel could jeopardise actual land ownership if there was a mass rebellion against returning the land after a year, and the sales were demonstrated to be legally binding.

2 Chron. 36:20-21 teaches that the 70 year captivity in Babylon was a year in captivity for each year that shemittah was disregarded.

After seven of these seven-year cycles a fiftieth year (Yovel, Jubilee year) occurs. Work on the land ceases (in addition to the shemittah), servants are set free, and the original tribal inheritances in the land is restored to their original owners.

The system of reading the Bible in three years on Saturdays reads part of the Sabbath reading each of the three years. You can find today’s portion and reflection here.

What were you taken by in the text?

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