The Weekly Shtikle Blog

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Friday, October 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeilech

With the onset of the new year, another shemittah year has concluded. I had wanted to dedicate at least one shtikle during the year to the topic of shemittah but unfortunately failed in that regard. Now that the year is over, the mitzvos regarding shemittah, for the most part, cease as well, except for the prohibitions regarding produce that grew in the shemittah year and maintain shemittah status, such as the esrogim we will be "acquiring" for Sukkos. However, there is one mitzvah connected to shemittah that still remains, although it is not in practice today - the mitzvah of hakheil.


Hakheil, as it is discussed in this week's parsha and in the gemara Sotah, was indeed a sight to be seen - the entire nation gathered in the Holy Temple as the king read from the Torah. Why, though, was this practice reserved for once every seven years? And why at the end of shemittah?


Malbi"m offers an approach which, although somewhat predictable, is certainly worth mentioning. Shemittah is a year of complete devotion to spiritual growth, a year when the farmers and all those whose who work the land turn away from their tiring and distracting service of the land and devote themselves completely to the service of HaShem. It is a time when all are putting their faith in HaShem as He miraculously carries them through the year. This is the time to capitalize on this spiritual peak and bring everyone together for the reading of the Torah in the Beis HaMikdash before they all return to their fields to go to work once again.


What we do see from this idea is the importance of capitalizing on our spiritual growth to bring ourselves yet another step higher. This is really the lesson of Tishrei of every year. It might be suggested that expecting all Jews to exit their homes and live in a temporary dwelling for a week might not be possible, for example, in the middle of the summer. It is only after the spiritual high of Yom Kippur that we are able to devote ourselves to such an extent. And immediately after Yom Kippur, without leaving a moment to lapse back into our regular routine, we thrust ourselves into the mitzvos of Sukkos.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


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