Talent On Loan From G-d                     

Rabbi Reuven Mann

This week’s Parsha Behar, introduces us to the Mitzvah of Shmitta.  This is the same concept as Shabbat except with regards not to weeks but to years. One may work his fields and use their produce in virtually any way he wants. However, on the seventh year he must let his fields lie fallow and not seek to assert ownership in any manner. The farmer thus obtains a sabbatical which he can devote to higher pursuits as he is relieved from the burdens of agricultural necessities. But what is the underlying idea behind Shmitta?

One of the fundamental tenets of Judaism is that of Creation. This means that the universe in which we find ourselves did not come into being by accident. Any thoughtful person can see that the world of nature is a product of infinite wisdom and manifests supreme order and organization. Who is responsible for bringing this universe into existence? The opening chapters of Bereishit describe the creation of  the heaven and earth and all that is in it. In the words of the Psalmist; “The heavens declare the glory of G-d, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.”

The great gap between man and the animals is due to the fact that Hashem endowed him with  the Tzelem Elokim (divine image) which enables him to decipher the secrets of nature and utilize them to “create” technological wonders. Of greater significance  it allows man to obtain a knowledge of G-d and to emulate His ways of justice and compassion. Thus the recognition that Hashem is our Creator who has fashioned us according to His Will and charged us to live a moral life is of vital importance to man.

That is why we are prohibited from tattooing our bodies. The only sign we must place on our skin is that of circumcision which defines us as being members of Hashem’s Covenant. Any other markings negate this  primary one. We have no permission to put a defining mark on something which does not belong to us. We must always remember that whatever capabilities we enjoy should be viewed as “.talent on loan from G-d.”

The number seven has great significance in Jewish life (though no one should look at it in a magical or “lucky” way) for  It is intimately associated with the doctrine of creation. The seventh day, year and Shmitta cycle all testify to Hashem’s dominion over the world and man’s need to respond to this by relinquishing his ownership and control.

That is because  man’s desire to step beyond his moral boundaries and assume a position he is unsuited for is very great. The wicked, those who fall into the category of Amalek, view themselves as the “masters of the universe”. The Nazis believed they could uproot all ethics and remake the world in their perverted image. At bottom was their ambition to “destroy” G-d and anoint themselves as the world’s rulers with the full power to decide “who will live and who will die”.

This was the intent of the wicked Titus who entered the holy of holies with a harlot and performed vile acts there. He slashed the Parochet (curtain that divides the holy from the holy of holies) and Hashem caused blood to spurt from it causing Titus to believe that he had actually “slain” Hashem. Titus understood what the Holy Temple stood for and he sought to destroy it.

The Beit Hamikdosh is Hashem’s “dwelling place” on earth. Though the edifice is not built up at present the Temple Mount on which it is located is under Israeli control. We are not permitted to abandon this site to those who desecrate it’s holiness. The Jewish People must assert our right to visit the Har Habayit and pray there and not be deterred by the threats of those who deny any historical association between the Jews and the Holy Temple.

We must not give in to those seek to replace us as G-d’s Chosen People and in fact maintain that we have no right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael. And we should not be overly concerned about world opinion. We must do that which is right in the sight of Hashem with the full confidence that if we courageously do His Will He will never abandon us.

Shabbat Shalom

All those who wish to donate to our Yeshiva and Kollel or want additional information on the Har Habayit click on our link http://www.harhabayit.org/

NOTE: One should not ascend the Temple Mount without proper Rabbinical instruction:

1) You should be informed of the various routes that are available according to the different Rabbinicial opinions.

2) You must immerse in a Kosher Mikvah that meets the standards to be kosher med’oriasa.

3) You must receive instructions for the proper preparations for the Mikvah (Chafifah)