(In most years this is a double Torah Parashah B’har with Bechukotai, but in leap years such as this year B’har Teaching will be for Shabbat of May 25th, 2019 and Bechukotai Teaching For Shabbat of June 1st, 2019)
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B’har (בְּהַר) — Hebrew for “on the mount,” is the fifth word in the parashah) and is the 32nd weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual cycle of Torah readings. The parashah tells the laws of the Sabbatical year (שמיטה, Shmita) and limits on debt servitude. The parashah covers Leviticus 25:1–26:2
Parsha Behar Summary
On the mountain of Sinai, God communicates to Moses the laws of the Sabbatical year: every seventh year, all work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all, man and beast.
Seven Sabbatical cycles are followed by a fiftieth year—the Jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all indentured servants are set free, and all ancestral estates in the Holy Land that have been sold revert to their original owners. Additional laws governing the sale of lands, and the prohibitions against fraud and usury, are also given.
This week’s haftorah discusses the purchase of a field by Jeremiah, echoing one of the themes of this week’s Torah portion—the purchase and redemption of real estate.
Jeremiah was confined in King Zedekiah’s royal compound for having prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people. There, G‑d revealed Himself to the prophet and informs him that he will be approached by his cousin Hanamel with an offer to purchase his ancestral lands. G‑d instructs Jeremiah to accept this offer.
Indeed, Hanamel arrived in the compound with the offer, and Jeremiah accepted. Money was transferred and a document of purchase was penned in the presence of witnesses. The prophet then gavs the deed to his disciple Baruch son of Neriah for safekeeping, and instructed him to store it in an earthenware vessel where it will remain for many years.
Jeremiah then conveys God’s message, the symbolism inherent in this transaction: “So says the L-rd of Hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall be purchased again in this land.'” Thus conveying a message of hope even on the eve of destruction and exile. Yes the Jews would be exiled, but they would also eventually be returned to their land.
The haftorah ends with the prophet’s prayer to and exaltation of God.
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Torah Parashah teaching with video and audio and illustrations by Rabbi Isaac. © 2021 Assembly of Called-Out Believers. Use by Permission.