Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Meaning of Shmita

We have often dicussed the concepts of “segulah”, “Jewish Nationalism”, Prat and klal. In order to discuss the meaning of Shmitta, let us review these concepts quickly.

Judaism is first and foremost a national identity. Yet, it is an special national identity. What is so special about the Jewish Nation? Well, the same way each nation has a special message, the Jewish Message is that of Godliness. How does that translate in obligations for the individual? Well, the prat (individual) is always essential to the representation of the klal (the general idea which needs to be represented). We often took the example of a painting where every brushstroke needs to be well place for the painting to come out clearly. This is true of every klal. Another example is a symphony, a beautiful musical piece. Each note in the symphony needs to be played nicely for the symphony to come out as the masterpiece it is. Interestingly, once the symphony is complete, you can feel the energy of the whole symphony in each note. So to in Klal Israel. The essential part is the klal. But each individual has a part of the “Klal” in his and when you hug your fellow jew, you hug this whole klal of the Jewish Nation which has, as special property, its Godliness.

So, what is the meaning of Shmitta?

Well, when as a nation, we are busy and involved in nation building, in making our economy stronger, etc… then an ideal situation cannot be brought out. The necessities of nation building create poverty for some, it creates materialism, etc… Unlike Communism, the Jewish religion recognizes the necessity of the material wealth for nation building. However, unlike blind capitalism, we also recognize that it would be ideal for everyone to have some decent wealth. Therefore, every 7 years, wealth becomes public domain. Every 7 years, we live one year of “communism”. We of course don’t believe all 7 years should be that way. Just like Shabbat is limited to a day and we do not make it every day, the Shmitta is only one day. Just like the energy of Shabbat brings us through that whole week, the energy of Shmitta brings us through every regular year.
The year of shmitta is the one where we recharge ourselves with a year of moral life where we live as a Godly nation before moving forward in the less then ideal, but essential, realities of nation building.

May this shmitta end with the coming of the messiah! more...

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