The Ninth section of the Chumash of Leviticus opens, as Moses hears G-d’s voice in the Tabernacle at the foot of the mountain (Behar, in Hebrew), commanding him to convey to the Jewish people the laws of the sabbatical and jubilee years.

“in the seventh year, the land must be given complete rest…I will command My blessing for you in the Sixth year.” (25:4)

Although leaving the land fallow for a year may indeed improve its fertility, this cannot be the purpose of the Sabbatical year. If it were, G-d would have promised to increase the yield of the year following the fallow year, not the year preceding it. By promising an increased yield in the sixth year – which should naturally be the least fertile and productive! G-d shows us that it is specifically and exclusively His blessing that is the source of the increased yield.

The lesson for us is as follows: As Jews, we are required to spend time every day in prayer and study; we must give charity, support Jewish education, and abstain from work on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. One may well ask; how can we hope to live financially sound lives when our non – Jewish neighbours, who are not “held back” by any of these obligations and restrictions, struggle to earn their livelihood?

The Sabbatical year teaches us that when we do what G-d wants from us, He will bless us – not only spiritually, but materially as well.

Have a meaningful joyous Shabbat and successful week to follow.