Behar: The Real Sinai

This Torah portion has to do with the Land.

Yishai Fleisher,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
"Hashem spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai saying: Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you
Comes our Torah portion and tells us: You want Torah from Sinai? This is Torah from Sinai.
come into the Land that I give you, the Land shall observe a Sabbath rest for HaShem."
This Torah portion has everything to do with the Land of Israel, and yet its commandments and directions are clearly marked as being given at Mount Sinai. Why does the Torah make this unusual stress on the place where these commandments are given? Moreover, aren't all the commandments from Mount Sinai? What makes these commandments different?
HaShem wrote the Torah, created the world, created man and created man's psychology. He knows that we, Am Yisrael, have a tendency to forget Eretz Yisrael, to settle in the Exile and make it our home. Even today, after the miracle rebirth of Israel, we often hear observant, Torah-true Jews saying that they cannot find the right community in Israel, they cannot make a living, or cannot get married here. It is not unusual to hear observant Jews say they can live a fuller Jewish life in the Diaspora.
Behar's introduction, and its specific naming of Mount Sinai, is written to address this classic Jewish psychological weakness. Know this, the Torah tells us, the commandments of Eretz Yisrael, Shmittah, Yovel, walled cities, selling of land, these are at the heart of the revelation at Mount Sinai. This is Torah MiSinai. You are not allowed to push these commandments aside, to the edges of your consciousness. If you claim to be a Torah-true Jew, then know that this is Torah, the Torah that was given at Sinai to Moshe Rabbeinu.
Moreover, if you do find yourself in the bitter Exile, keep these commandments close to your heart, learn them, love them and yearn for the day that HaShem will return you. When He does return you, you will be prepared to implement these laws and live your Torah-true life in the Land which He swore to give to our forefathers.
Alas, today, when living in Israel has never been easier, when Torah institutions abound, when Yerushalayim is being built, there are still "Torah-true" Jews who make excuses and claim that they can live a more "Torah lifestyle" in Passaic, Monsey, Teaneck or LA. Comes our Torah portion and tells us: You want Torah from Sinai? This is Torah from Sinai: Shmittah, Yovel, walled cities, selling of land - this is at the heart of Torat Moshe MiSinai. Live it or lose it.


Parshat Behar also issues a challenge to Jews in Israel today. While we Jews have achieved a modern state with a governing body, an army, an education system, and health care, we are not satisfied or complacent. Indeed, we pray and act everyday to make the arms of the state more in line with the Torah's will. We have alternative political parties, we have special army units and we have Torah education - all these try to reshape the state in G-d's image. Moreover, we yearn for the Temple to stand in Jerusalem, with a righteous Sanhedrin adjudicating the
When is the last time you heard a push for Torah economics?

Yet when is the last time you heard a push for Torah economics?
Parshat Behar is a Torah portion dedicated to Torah economics: the Shmittah cycle bids us to leave the land fallow every seventh year, the Yovel heralds freedom for the Hebrew bondsman and a return of sold land to its original owners, while the prohibition to loan with interest protects the destitute.
The Torah has an economic system in mind for Jewish life in Israel; yet, our economic system today is not much different from those of other countries. The Torah's economic laws are a secret insight as to how to make it here in the land and yet we barely use them. We must establish Torah institutes that will study and unravel what Torah economics means in the modern age.

The closer we follow HaShem's economic vision, the more we will merit to live here with His blessing.