Shmitta: On Mindfulness and Striving for the Ideal – Yom Hashoa-Yom Hazikaron-Yom Haatzmaut Parshat Behar (Bechukotai) 5774

For a printable PDF version click here: Parshat Behar (Bechukoti) 5774 Final

From Destruction to Redemption: A Dialectical experience

Last week we marked Yom Hashoa, this week we celebrated Yom Haatzamut. To think of them together is both comforting and blasphemous. To move from one to the other arouses extreme emotions. It is almost impossible to recall the unprecedented suffering that our nation endured and then to celebrate with unbridled joy the freedom of being Jews in our own land after 2000 years of exile. And yet that is what we do. This dialectical swing is described poignantly by Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg as follows:

Faith is living in the presence of the redeemer, even when the world is unredeemed. After Auschwitz faith means there are times when faith is overcome. Buber has spoken of ‘moment Gods’: God is known only at the moment when the presence and awareness are fused in vital life. This knowledge is interspersed with moments when only natural, self contained, routine existence is present. We now have to speak of ‘moment faiths’. Moments when redeemer and vision of redemption are present, interspersed with times when the flames and smoke of the burning children blot out faith- though it flickers again…

If the experience of Auschwitz symbolizes that we are cut off from God and hope and that the covenant may be destroyed, then the experience of Jerusalem symbolizes that God’s promises are faithful and His people live on. Burning children speaks of the absence of all values – human and Divine; the rehabilitation of one-half million Holocaust survivors in Israel speaks of the reclamation of tremendous human dignity and value. If Treblinka makes human hope an illusion, then the Western Wall asserts that human dreams are more real than force and facts. Israel’s faith in the God of History demands that an unprecedented event of destruction be matched by an unprecedented act of redemption, and this has happened.

Behar -Bechukotai are Parshiot that echo this dialectical experience: the creation of a state and the threat of its annihilation. It is the story of our people: a people chosen by God not because they were great, noble or wise or had any innate holiness, but because God saw the potential for them to be great, noble, wise and holy. They were chosen to become responsible, aware and mindful of others and God. That is the story of our people, our past and our future, our legacy and our creative novelty.

On Sinai when we received the Torah, we moved from a free nation to a nation burdened with responsibility. A nation of slaves who had been trained to numb their brains were transformed to a nation that had to be taught to think and be aware. This process culminates in the message of this and next week’s Parsha. Parshat Behar obligates us to keep the mitzvah of Shmitta, with its message of ceasing productivity in the land. Parshat Bechukotai describes the devastation that will occur if we fail to abide by those laws. One is a narrative of growth and creativity, the other an account of destruction and devastation. The two are forever intertwined. Our history is full of moments of innovation, growth and movement coupled with destruction, annihilation and suffering. It is a dialectical existence, just as Greenberg describes. 

The Challenge of Creating a New State: Lessons from the Laws of Shmitta

I often think that one of the greatest challenges for the Jews from Europe that arrived in Palestine immediately after the Holocaust must have been how to build a society. Most of the survivors were mere children when the events that led to the greatest massacre in history started. They arrived without family, parents, grandparents and most importantly any positive or constructive childhood memories. They had to build a family, a society and a homeland without any precedents. They had no parents to turn to for advice, no grandparents to seek wisdom from and no historical model for how to create a workable Jewish state. And yet they succeeded. They created the foundation for a state that would become the cornerstone of democracy and development in the Middle East, one of the greatest forces for technological innovation and hi tech in the world and one of, if not the most, moral and ethical defence forces known. Perhaps in a subconscious way they based themselves on an important philosophical lesson that this week’s Parsha conveys.

The Torah does not present us with a systematic political philosophy. What is does however is to convey to us the kind of society we must build and the mindset of the individuals who compose it. Parshat Behar tells us that central to our vision of a Jewish state is the philosophy of Shmitta. What is the philosophy of Shmitta? I would like to suggest that Shmitta represents two fundamental visions that mustbe part of any Jewish state. They are mindfulness and striving for an ideal society whilst living in the real world.[1]

 

Shmitta – The ideal and the Real

The mitzvah of Shmitta, which is of course of particular relevance now as we approach the upcoming Shmitta year, is a strange almost extraordinary mitzvah. We are told at the start of the Parsha:

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר.  ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם–וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ, שַׁבָּת לַיהוָהג שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ, וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְמֹר כַּרְמֶךָ; וְאָסַפְתָּ, אֶת-תְּבוּאָתָהּ.  ד וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת, שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ–שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה:  שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע, וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר.  ה אֵת סְפִיחַ קְצִירְךָ לֹא תִקְצוֹר, וְאֶת-עִנְּבֵי נְזִירֶךָ לֹא תִבְצֹר:  שְׁנַת שַׁבָּתוֹן, יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ.  ו וְהָיְתָה שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ לָכֶם, לְאָכְלָה–לְךָ, וּלְעַבְדְּךָ וְלַאֲמָתֶךָ; וְלִשְׂכִירְךָ, וּלְתוֹשָׁבְךָ, הַגָּרִים, עִמָּךְ.  ז וְלִבְהֶמְתְּךָ–וְלַחַיָּה, אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצֶךָ:  תִּהְיֶה כָל-תְּבוּאָתָהּ, לֶאֱכֹל.  {ס} ……..כב וּזְרַעְתֶּם, אֵת הַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁמִינִת, וַאֲכַלְתֶּם, מִן-הַתְּבוּאָה יָשָׁן; עַד הַשָּׁנָה הַתְּשִׁיעִת, עַד-בּוֹא תְּבוּאָתָהּ–תֹּאכְלוּ, יָשָׁן.  כג וְהָאָרֶץ, לֹא תִמָּכֵר לִצְמִתֻת–כִּי-לִי, הָאָרֶץ:  כִּי-גֵרִים וְתוֹשָׁבִים אַתֶּם, עִמָּדִי. 

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shall sow thy field, and six years thou shall prune thy vineyard, and gather in the produce thereof. 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath unto the LORD; thou shall neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5 That which grows of itself of thy harvest thou salt not reap, and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shall not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 And the Sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee; 7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food. ….. 22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store. 23 And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.[2]

The Torah surprises us by emphasizing that as soon as we enter the land, we have to remember that the land must lie fallow in the seventh year.   One would perhaps have expected to have been told the kinds of political society we should establish whether for example it should be based on socialist principles of equality or a capitalist market economy. Should we build our land and society based on democracy or theocracy? However we are told nothing about politics or government, instead what is transmitted are our obligations to the land. Why? The answer I believes lies in the Torah’s vision of a society. It is not relevant whether the economy is socialist, as were the Kibbutz systems, or capitalist as is the current state. These bear no significance for the Torah. Instead the emphasis is on the mindset of its citizens and their leaders. This mindset is cultivated through the laws that the Torah sets out for the land.

Shmitta has two main elements to it: Shmittat Hakarka and Shmittat Ksafim – the law to leave the land fallow and the law to renounce all debts in the seventh year. As part of my studies in the Matan Scholars programme we have been learning Gemara Masechet Gittin. This week we began studying the concept of Pruzbul, that was instituted by Hillel as part of a series ofRabbinic enactments (takanot) concerning the welfare of Jewish society or Tikkun Olam – rectifying the world. The other issues that fall under the heading of Tikkun Olam include the ransoming of Jewish captives taken by gentiles, discussions on slavery and divorce laws so as to prevent agunot (chained women) and mamzerim (illegitimate children).

During our chevruta sessions and the class discussion, there was an underlying feeling that the topic of Shmitta was in many ways dissimilar from all the other topics. What struck me as different about Shmitta is that the Torah seems to be asking Man to do something that is almost impossible to do in practice. This can be inferred by the many loopholes created by Chazal to avoid both Shmittat Hakarka and Shmittat Ksafim, which effectively results in a complete neutralisation of the laws today. Observing the laws exactly as written in the Torah would have created such societal problems that the Rabbis had no choice but to be pragmatic and create loopholes such as the Pruzbul and Heter Mechira in order to allow Man to uphold the Torah law of Shmitta. Although the ideal of Shmitta was never forgotten, it has repeatedly come up against human economic needs throughout history and the Rabbis were forced to act on more than one occasion in order to resolve this conflict.[3]

Yet the fact that we no longer practise the law as originally given has not caused it to be forgotten. On the contrary it has become the topic of ever increasing debate and argument.   It seems that people feel an intuitive duty to try to aspire to keep the law according to its original intent as much as possible. There is a drive to repair the dissonance between social justice and public interest.[4] This aspiration touches at the very heart of why the Torah, which is usually very careful to heed man’s nature and circumstances, would dictate an almost ‘impossible’ requirement on Man.

We start Sefer Vayikra by discussing the gap between the ideal and the real, and in many ways we end the book by touching on a very similar theme. In entering the land, God commands us that the ‘ideal’ society is one in which we lend money to others with no thought of when or even if it will be returned, one in which we can open our fields to the poor and put aside our natural inclination for productivity and maintenance in order to let the land rest. It is a way of living that today we see as an impossibility and yet represents an ‘ideal’ world. But since we are not there yet, we create ways for ourselves in which we can make it easier and realistic.

However the fact that the ‘Shmitta’ year still exists and that there is constant debate even amongst secular elements in society as to how to make it viable, is testimony to the fact that we are still striving towards that ‘ideal’ time and society. This striving is what pushes us to be who we are. Although Israel today may not yet have reached the ideal, the beauty of our land and our people is that we are dynamic, constantly oscillating between the real and the ideal. We are continuously and incessantly searching for ways to improve and move forward in every sphere.

We live under constant threat. Parshat Bechukotai with its narrative of the threat to our existence in the land comes quickly on the heels of Parshat Behar. We are never safe and our existence in the land is never guaranteed. We live in perpetual tension between the memory of our recent extermination and future existential threat and yet in many ways this is the motivation behind our drive towards building an ideal society. Shmitta is the reminder that we have the potential to create such a social order, and that if we continue to build towards that time, we will continue to prosper in the land.

Shmitta and Mindfulness

The second philosophical premise upon which Shmitta is founded is that which we will term mindfulness.[5] To appreciate this notion we need to investigate the context in which it is commanded. The Torah mentions the law of Shmitta in two places. The first is in Sefer Shemot. There we are told:

If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under its burden, thou shall forbear to pass by him; thou shall surely release it with him. 6 Thou shall not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. 7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not; for I will not justify the wicked. 8 And thou shall take no gift; for a gift blinded them that have sight, and perverted the words of the righteous. 9 And a stranger shall thou not oppress; for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 10 And six years thou shall sow thy land, and gather in the increase thereof; 11 but the seventh year thou shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of thy people may eat; and what they leave the beast of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shall deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive yard. 12 Six days thou shall do they work, but on the seventh day thou shall rest; that thine ox and thine ass may have rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.[6] 

The context of the law is a socio-moral one. The laws surrounding it are all socio-moral ones. Shabbat too is mentioned in the context of allowing your servant workers and animals to rest. It emphasises the role of Shmitta as that which provides for the poor and impoverished and which releases slaves from their burden.

In our Parsha there is less emphasis placed on the socio-moral context (or the man to man relationship) and a far greater weight given to the God-man relationship. The repeated reminder of Shabbat alludes to the parallel between the two laws, and the pasuk that reminds us that God has sole ownership of the land and not Man, also comes to relay to us that Shmitta here is connected to our relationship with God.[7] I would like to suggest that what Parshat Behar highlights is the perspective of awareness. It is the mode of being that doesn’t just let life pass you by but that makes you constantly aware of your surroundings and your state of being. Heschel called this ‘radical amazement’, to be constantly in a state of awareness that God is the centre of all existence, that ultimately the land belongs to Him and that all our achievements, successes and triumphs do not belong just to us, but also belong to God.

In a fascinating parallel, Parshat Ki Tavo in Sefer Devarim begins with the exact same words as our Parsha – ‘When you enter the land’. There we are told that the first thing we must remember to do when we enter the land is to bring our first fruits – the Bikkurim, up to the Temple to sacrifice to God.

1 And it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it, and dwell in it; 2 that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you shall bring in from the land that the LORD your God gives you; and you shall put it in a basket and shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. 3 And you shall come to the priest that shall be in those days, and say to him: ‘I profess this day unto the LORD my God, that I am come to the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 And the priest shall take the basket out of your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God. 5 And you shall speak and say before the LORD thy God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 And the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. 7 And we cried unto the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders. 9 And He has brought us into this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land, which You, O LORD, hast given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given to you, and to my house, you, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of you.[8

This narrative, famous for having been placed as the central account in the Haggadah of Pesach, recounts the exact dialectic we have been discussing. In this account we move between the redemption and the slavery, the experience and joy of living and cultivating our land and the memory of our despair and suffering. It captures the affliction and oppression of the past with the redemption and creativity of the present and future, as Greenberg beautifully describes again.

What is the premise of that redemption? The awareness and mindfulness that we did not create this on our own. The fruit of our labour is not ours alone, but a partnership with the Almighty. Being mindful of this is the premise of our having been given the land. The minute we ‘forget’ is the moment that we are forced out of the land.

Parshat Bechukotai describes that ‘forgetting’ for us. It recounts with painful clarity what happens when we forget to be ‘mindful’. In a distressing description it lists the consequences of not listening to God and keeping his commands. The tochecha – rebuke, should be a harrowing read for anyone. The descriptions of the suffering and depravity are shocking and are brought upon us as a result of our own actions. The Torah suggests that the main reason that these things will come upon us is that we did not allow the land to lie fallow during the Shmitta year. However there is an interesting word that keeps repeating itself throughout the narrative – a leitmotif[9] or mila manche: the word “Keri”.

This is the way the Torah describes it:

כא וְאִם-תֵּלְכוּ עִמִּי קֶרִי, וְלֹא תֹאבוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ לִי–וְיָסַפְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַכָּה, שֶׁבַע כְּחַטֹּאתֵיכֶם.  כב וְהִשְׁלַחְתִּי בָכֶם אֶת-חַיַּת

הַשָּׂדֶה, וְשִׁכְּלָה אֶתְכֶם, וְהִכְרִיתָה אֶת-בְּהֶמְתְּכֶם, וְהִמְעִיטָה אֶתְכֶם; וְנָשַׁמּוּ, דַּרְכֵיכֶם.  כג וְאִם-בְּאֵלֶּה–לֹא תִוָּסְרוּ, לִי; וַהֲלַכְתֶּם עִמִּי, קֶרִיכד וְהָלַכְתִּי אַף-אֲנִי עִמָּכֶם, בְּקֶרִי; וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶתְכֶם גַּם-אָנִי, שֶׁבַע עַל-חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם.  כה וְהֵבֵאתִי עֲלֵיכֶם חֶרֶב, נֹקֶמֶת נְקַם-בְּרִית, וְנֶאֱסַפְתֶּם, אֶל-עָרֵיכֶם; וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי דֶבֶר בְּתוֹכְכֶם, וְנִתַּתֶּם בְּיַד-אוֹיֵב.  כו בְּשִׁבְרִי לָכֶם, מַטֵּה-לֶחֶם, וְאָפוּ עֶשֶׂר נָשִׁים לַחְמְכֶם בְּתַנּוּר אֶחָד, וְהֵשִׁיבוּ לַחְמְכֶם בַּמִּשְׁקָל; וַאֲכַלְתֶּם, וְלֹא תִשְׂבָּעוּ.  {ס} כז וְאִם-בְּזֹאת–לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ, לִי; וַהֲלַכְתֶּם עִמִּי, בְּקֶרִי.  כח וְהָלַכְתִּי עִמָּכֶם, בַּחֲמַת-קֶרִי; וְיִסַּרְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אַף-אָנִי, שֶׁבַע עַל-חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם )…… . ( מ וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת-עֲו‍ֹנָם וְאֶת-עֲו‍ֹן אֲבֹתָם, בְּמַעֲלָם אֲשֶׁר מָעֲלוּ-בִי, וְאַף, אֲשֶׁר-הָלְכוּ עִמִּי בְּקֶרִימא אַף-אֲנִי, אֵלֵךְ עִמָּם בְּקֶרִי, וְהֵבֵאתִי אֹתָם, בְּאֶרֶץ אֹיְבֵיהֶם; אוֹ-אָז יִכָּנַע, לְבָבָם הֶעָרֵל, וְאָז, יִרְצוּ אֶת-עֲו‍ֹנָם

21 And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. 22 And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your ways shall become desolate. 23 And if in spite of these things ye will not be corrected unto Me, but will walk contrary unto Me; 24 then will I also walk contrary unto you; and I will smite you, even I, seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant; and ye shall be gathered together within your cities; and I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight; and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. {S} 27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me; 28 then I will walk contrary unto you in fury; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. (……………………..) 40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me. 41 I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity;[10]

Keri means to treat reality as ‘happenstance’.[11] It is a weltanschauung that is the absolute opposite to that of the Torah, in particular that which is presented in this week’s Parsha. What I want to suggest is that the rebuke, the suffering that God metes out to us, is not just a result of not keeping the statutes, in particular Shmitta, but rather symptomatic of a much deeper distorted philosophy of life – an absence of mindfulness.

God says to the people if you walk with me בקרי- in happenstance, i.e. without a higher consciousness, without a deeper realisation of who you are and what your role is, that is when I will treat you as happenstance and allow the powers of nature deal you their lot. Hence Shmitta teaches us to be constantly aware of a higher being and to acknowledge that whilst it may be easy to assign all responsibility for our success and triumphs to our greatness, we must be continually aware of the danger of man’s arrogance and pride, as relayed in Parshat Ekev:

  יז וְאָמַרְתָּ, בִּלְבָבֶךָ:  כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי, עָשָׂה לִי אֶת-הַחַיִל הַזֶּהיח וְזָכַרְתָּ, אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ–כִּי הוּא הַנֹּתֵן לְךָ כֹּחַ, לַעֲשׂוֹת חָיִל:  לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ, כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה

17 and thou say in thy heart: ‘My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.’ 18 But thou shall remember the LORD thy God, for it is He that gives thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day[12]

Shmitta reminds us that whilst we have a duty to cultivate, work and develop the land, we must also be continually aware that ultimately we do not own the land. The irony of the dual reality is noted by the renowned nineteenth century philosopher Franz Rosensweig:

And so even when it has a home, this people, in recurrent contrast to all other peoples on earth, is not allowed full possession of that home. It is only a ‘stranger and a sojourner.’ God tells it: ‘The land is Mine.’ The holiness of the land removed it from the people’s spontaneous reach while it could still reach out for it.[13]

The interrelationship between Behar and Bechukotai is, as we described at the start, the tension between our growth and striving for a greater future, and the threat of our exile from the land. It is the faith in the promise of redemption, human and divine, in a world that is not yet redeemed. It is oscillating between memories of horror and despair and the recognition of prosperity, thriving and fragmentary redemption. It is the narrow path we tread between striving for a utopian state and country and acknowledging that we are only at the start of our national journey. Behar teaches us that if we hold on to the dream and the aspiration of redemption whilst being mindful of others and God, we will one day realize the Torah’s paradigm of a model state that is based on a deep awareness and obligation to the less fortunate in society.

 

[1] This theme was discussed in Parshat Vayikra and as I stated there it is a vision that permeates the entire book of Vayikra and the Torah as a whole. It is seen again at the end of Vayikra in our Parsha in a slightly new light as we will discuss.

[2] Vayikra 26

[3] There is no question that the Torah and the Rabbi’s in the Gemara both believe that in an ideal world Shmitta would be practised in its entirety by everyone, but because it is so counterintuitive to human self interest, Hillel’s takana as well as Heter mechira had to be instituted. These two takanot reflect perhaps a human failure, but also a desire to retain the spirit if not the letter of the law of Shmitta.

[4] This may also add an interesting perspective to the social justice protests that reached their climax in the summer of 2011. The call for ‘social justice’ by the people and the claim by the government that their demands were impractical to the national economic needs of the country highlight the clash between these two elements.

[5] I take this term from a psychological practise called mindfulness that is used by many psychologists in cognitive behavioural therapy. Its basis comes from the Buddhist tradition where the belief that a total awareness and acceptance of self and emotions leads to an increased psychological and physical wellbeing. The term and practise gained influence amongst practitioners in the western world through Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in 1979.   Studies found that this method aided recovery in many different fields and has since gained great prominence as a method used primarily amongst psychologists and psychotherapists to aid recovery from anxiety, depression and other psychological illnesses.

[6] Shemot 23

[7] See Sefer Hachinuch commentary on Behar on the reason for the Mitzva of Shmitta. There he notes that the mitzva of Shmitta is to remind us that everything ultimately belongs to God and hence returns to Him. It will prevent man from stealing or from envying his fellow person since nothing really belongs to Man.

[8] Devarim 26

[9] The term used by Buber and Rosensweig in their translation of the Tanach to describe words that repeat themselves or the roots of the word in order to convey a thematic idea.

[10] Vayikra 26

[11] See Rashi 26:21 and Chizkuni 26:21

[12] Devarim 8

[13] The Star of Redemption Part II book 1

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