Shabbat Behar (Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2)

Courtesy of Julie Seltzer and

Parasha Behar (“on/in/from the Mountain”) spends a great deal of time discussing the sabbatical and jubilee years in the land of Israel. The rabbi’s have interpreted this Shabbat of the land in different ways, from simple agricultural common sense to a living reminder that everything ultimately belongs to and derives from God, to a mirror of the 7 days of creation, to a chance to put ourselves in the shoes of the truly needy and be sensitized to their plight.

Regardless of the interpretation which might resonate with you, we decided to give our “food theme of the week” a sabbatical also (although not for a full year – perish the thought!). For this week, the food you bring is not required to have any particular connection to the parasha at all. It’s just food.

But just like the sabbatical does not mean a cessation from all work, rather it is simply a reprieve for the soil, we have an assignment for you. Please bring your answers to the following questions:

Imagine for a moment that your family was given a sabbatical year – 12 months leave from work and school with a guaranteed income but no obligations. What would you do with that time? How would you use such a year? What goals would you set and what activities would you plan?

In thinking about your answer, try to complete the following sentences:

A year of release from _______________
A year free from _______________
A year to return _______________
A year to allow _______________
A time for _______________
A time to _______________
A time with _______________

Come prepared to share your responses.

Not sure what this Torah portion is about? You can find a brief summary in The Edible Torah’s “Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings”. For more information on what The Edible Torah is all about, along with insight on how to set up a pot-luck Shabbat experience, check out “The Edible Torah”.