The Panorama

Iyar 19, 5782
May 20, 2022
Candlelighting Time 7:54 PM

            The Torah introduces the mitzvah of Shemitah, the prohibition to work the land in Israel every seven years. Apparently, in order to emphasize its importance, the Torah states that this mitzvah was given at Mt. Sinai. Our Sages are perplexed why it was necessary to place this emphasis upon this mitzvah? Rashi explains that we now know that every mitzvah was presented to Moshe in its entirety at Mt. Sinai for its conveyance to the entire nation. Additionally, the Torah in its entirety and full complexity was reviewed again before they entered into the land of Israel! However, we still need to understand why this particular fact was introduced now with the mitzvah of Shemitah?

            K’sav Sofer presents an amazing explanation for this parsha. He cites the Talmud where the convert approached Hillel and requested to fulfill the entire Torah standing on one leg. Hillel responded that if he will observe the mitzvah to love his fellow man like himself, then he can heed the entire Torah on one leg. Of course, this answer requires clarity. Maharsha explains that it is impossible for one person to perform the entire 613 mitzvos. Rather, as a unit, one nation, everyone is doing mitzvos that are applicable to him and therefore together, as one people, we achieve a complete performance of the entire Torah. However, how can it be that someone else’s performance of a mitzvah can apply to another as well? The answer is that when we function as one integrated body of cohesiveness, then we share the collective success that we enjoy as a unified people. However, we must achieve that unanimity in order to gain that collective success. And that is accomplished through the mitzvah of loving our fellow man, and that was the intent of the response of Hillel.

            Shemitah demonstrates such as cohesiveness in our nation. Everyone’s field is released for public use, and we help to feed the needy because everyone is allowed into the fields of the entire nation. And we observe this mitzvah willingly which truly displays our love for our fellow man. Therefore, the mitzvah of Shemitah is a springboard from which can apply our relationship with others inclusive of all the mitzvos of the Torah. And that is why this mitzvah is mentioned in conjunction with Mt. Sinai, where we received the Torah. We, the entire nation, received the Torah together as one indivisible unit. Without that tremendous, unified imminence it would have been impossible for Hashem to give us the Torah. And that incredible inclusion is what binds us together and makes us one!   

            Therefore, the Torah emphasizes that this mitzvah was given to us in its entirety because fulfillment of this mitzvah, which promotes our unity, in its fullest most exemplary fashion further binds us together as one inseparable nation.

            Thursday, Lag B’Omer, is when the hidden Torah was revealed to us through the great Sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Although the mystical part of Torah is certainly beyond the reach of most of us, however, bearing in mind that Torah fundamentally unites and connects us, we may propose that even that level of the sublime we can ultimately have a relationship to with the incredible unity that we as a people merit.


The mitzvah of Shemitah is to demonstrate that Hashem rules the world and therefore when we don’t observe this mitzvah we are banished from the Land of Israel so that we should understand that we need to recognize that.                                                                                                              S’FAS EMES