Friday, May 27, 2016
From Rabbi Kelly Levy
As we watch the trees slowly begin to burst with green leaves, pink and purple flowers, and as the earth begins to warm up, we take a moment to breathe in the beauty that is nature. How incredible that just over a month ago the ground was still cold, the plants still seemed barren and dead, and the warm sun was just wishful thinking? And, in a few days, we will begin a new month, knowing that the excitement and joy of summer is just around the corner.
Our seasons have a way of reminding us that the world continues to spin around and that time keeps moving forward. Our Torah portion for this week, Parashat Behar, also reminds us that we live in a linear world, one in which time moves forward and we cannot go back. Behar commands that every seven years, the land must rest and the farmers must take a break from plowing, tilling, and crop-growing. Just like we need rest, the land needs time to rejuvenate and reabsorb nutrients.
The changing of the seasons reminds us that as quickly as the snow melts and the flowers begin to bloom, the land can cease to supply the food we need to survive. If we do not allow the land an opportunity to rest each seventh year, the soil becomes arid and lacks nutrition needed for plants to grow and flourish. The abundant green we see during the Spring would be brown and dry, the branches would look bare and dead just as they do all Winter long, and we would never see the fruit of our labor.
So, too in life do we need time to rest and rejuvenate our bodies and souls. Each week, Shabbat reminds us to put away the work, to reabsorb much needed nourishment from sunlight, water, and family. Shabbat allows us to reconnect with one another and the earth, filling our bodies with joy and our souls with happiness. The land changes each season and so do we. Rest is needed to reclaim our inner selves so that we can produce the best work and the best parts of ourselves as we keep moving forward.
Take time to rest, relax, and rejoice. Nourish your soul, just as the land is nourished with the jubilee year. May this Shabbat be one of calm and rejuvenation for you.