June 17, 2024
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 In Parshat Behar, it is written that in Israel, the farmers need to let their land have a Shabbat every seven years (Shemita) and after 49 years (Yovel). As Jews, we also have a Shabbat. After six days of the week, we have Shabbat on the 7th day. Why are both of these called days of Shabbat? Does Shemita and Yovel have something to do with the Shabbat for people?

What is the purpose of Shabbat for Jewish people? Shabbat can be a great day to spend with friends and family. It is a great time to tell your children to put away their electronics. It can be a great time to get close to your spouse. It is a day that you can take off from work and not be penalized. It is a day where you can catch up on rest. Shabbat is a day about which many people do not always grasp the goal. Hashem does not need Shabbat. He created Shabbat for you. It was not only so that you would spend time with your family who would not be glued to their phones. It was not only so you do not need to go to work and can catch up on sleep. It is for something greater.

While doing all those things is great, and I am not telling you to not spend time with family or get rest on Shabbat, I am saying also do this: Shabbat is a day of rest for you! It is a day where the mundane aspects of life should be rested, and spirituality should be awoken. Shabbat is a time when you must recognize that it is all from Hashem. He chose for you to have this day of rest because He cares for you and knows you need it. Shabbat is a time to get closer to Hashem, the creator, your master, your king and your father. When we follow his laws of Shabbat, we are putting our trust in Hashem that He knows what’s best and everything will be good.

When it comes to Shemita and Yovel, the idea is the same. Hashem is asking the farmers to take time off to get to know Him more. Take time off because you trust me! As hard as that may be, these Shabbats that Hashem places, even for the land, are for us. Shabbat is for us to grow closer to Hashem and build up our emunah and bitachon. May we all merit in keeping the Shabbats that Hashem gives us in a way that brings us closer to Hashem! May we also always be able to trust Hashem and recognize that all He does is for the best.


Shira Sedek is a passionate educator currently working toward a master’s degree at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

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