1.In our Torah Portion, Leviticus 25:1-26:2 G-d was giving instructions for the Sabbatical year/ Sh’mitah year and the Yovel or Jubilee year.  The children of Israel were still at Mount Sinai with about 38 more years to wander. Only two adults would actually get to the Promised Land. Why was G-d giving agricultural instructions to the people while they were still in the desert?

He was giving them life instructions to equip them for what their future would hold. Even though they were not yet farmers or producing their own food they had to learn that G-d was their provider now and in the future and not just by natural process of sowing and reaping but by His mighty hand and His love for them.

G-d promised in Leviticus 25:21, “I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.”  G-d wanted them to learn to trust Him completely.

G-d wants us to do the same. He wants us to know that He’s got our backs, He is our provider in all areas of our life. It’s not the fluctuations of the stock market or the luck of the real estate market that will determine our blessings. It’s not our clever ideas or working overtime that will yield promotions. G-d alone will deliver abundance and blessings in our lives. We only have to do our part, and leave the heavy lifting to G-d.

2.After reading this Torah portion list the steps to be taken during the Sh’mitah year and another list for the Yovel or Jubilee Year? 

Sh’mitah year

Land lies fallow

No sowing of crops

No reaping, pruning or harvesting

The family, their servants and strangers could eat what grew of its own accord

The livestock could also take from what grew on its own

The Yovel/Jubilee Year

Again, no sowing

No reaping, pruning or harvesting

The land was returned to the original owners, except in walled cities

Debts and contracts were released

It was forbidden to take advantage of the poor

3.Looking at these two lists what can we learn from these two events?

Everything comes from G-d’s hand. We are to work and fulfill our roles as providers but ultimately it is G-d we depend on not our own strength.

All people are treated fairly.

Our goal is not how many material possessions we can accumulate in our life time but rather achieving what G-d put us on earth to accomplish.

Our faith and trust is to be in the L-rd. We all, at one time, were sinners but we heard the ram’s horn and answered the L-rd’s call. Now we have been set free, not to do whatever we want but to do His will.

4.What do you think the theme of this Torah portion is and how do we implement it in our lives?

The Torah is committed to the equal dignity of human beings in the image, and under the sovereignty, of G-d. Not everyone could be a king; not everyone was a priest. But Judaism had no class system. This Torah portion reminds us that we are all G-d’s children, all precious in His sight, each with a contribution to make. 

When we find people who have lost their way spiritually, financially or emotionally we are to do what we can to restore them to the role that G-d created them to fulfill.

The Torah’s solution, set out in Behar, is a periodic restoration of people’s fundamental liberties. Every seventh year, debts were to be released and Israelite slaves set free. After seven sabbatical cycles, the Jubilee year was to be a time when, with few exceptions, ancestral land returned to its original owners. 

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is engraved with the famous words of the Jubilee command in the King James translation, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.” Lev. 25:10

5.Our Haftarah portion Jeremiah 32:6-27  is a great example of  the redemption of a relatives property laid out in Leviticus 25:24-25.  Why do you think G-d told Jeremiah to go buy his cousin’s property when they were being led away captive? What good would it be to Jeremiah when another nation had possession of the land?

G-d’s word to Jeremiah here is a bit unbelievable.  I mean, the city is under siege and Jeremiah himself is in prison.  Soon the city will be in ruins.  Jeremiah knows that.  Indeed, his constant proclamation of ruin is what has landed him in jail. G-d’s command to buy land in Jeremiah’s home town of Anathoth makes no sense whatsoever, not commercially, not personally.

But of course this real estate transaction isn’t a personal investment for Jeremiah; it is a promise from G-d, a vivid way of saying, “There is hope for his land and these people.  And here’s a sign of the future.”  

The promise: As verse 15 says, “Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”  G-d uses an everyday thing, as G-d so often does to make a promise for the future.  G-d anchors that promise in the details of our Torah portion, Leviticus 25::24-25.   What a fascinating way to demonstrate that G-d’s promise of a normal future is as real as the normalcy of selling a piece of real estate even though the opposite was happening before their eyes.  G-d was saying there will be life on the land again, however impossible that may seem right now.

Jeremiah went through with the deal. He did that for one reason and one reason only.  Jeremiah 32:8-9 put it simply:  “I knew it was the word of the L-rd, so I bought the field from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him 17 shekels of silver.”  Five times we read that the “Word of the L-rd” came to Jeremiah.  He could see the situation for the disaster it was, but he heard the word of the L-rd and believed it.  He walked by faith, not by sight.

There is the challenge to us in this text—to look at the hopeless situation in which we might find ourselves,  and yet to walk by faith in the word of G-d. 

Keep walking by faith, even when it seems there is no hope of G-d’s word coming true.  Jeremiah knew it would take a long time for the promise to come true.  That’s why he had Baruch seal up the deed in a clay jar for safe keeping.  

(Remember that the Dead Sea Scrolls were kept safe for 2000 years in just such clay jars.)  Jeremiah was under no illusions that life was going to return to normal any time soon.  But he placed his property, his life in G-d’s faithfulness to his word. That’s our challenge in the difficult days of our lives.

But this text is not just about the challenge to live by faith.  It is, even more, about G-d’s ability to do what seems impossible.  It is no accident that Jeremiah concludes his transaction with a prayer in which the key line is in verse 17.  “Nothing is too hard for you.”  

G-d responds with a summary of Israel’s great sin and a promise of his greater mercy, which begins with the rhetorical question of verse 27, “I am the L-rd, the G-d of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?