Close to Hashem – Parshas Behar

What’s the connection?! This is Rashi’s most famous question that begins our Parsha. Why is Shemittah connected with the concept of Har Sinai?

The theme of the Parsha is one: unrelenting faithfulness and connection to Hashem. A farmer worked hard to cultivate his field and support his family and then the seventh year arrived. He was now expected to refrain from working in recognition that Hashem is the provider of all sustenance and He commanded that the land rest during the 7th year which is Shemittah. This was a most humbling and centering experience. One placed himself totally in Hashem’s hands. It took a courageous commitment to take such a leap, and Hashem always delivered! The Torah promises that anyone who keeps Shemittah will be supported by Hashem Himself!

This is why Har Sinai is mentioned regarding the Mitzvah of Shemittah. The purpose of every single Mitzvah given at Sinai is the same as the goal of Shemittah, to bring one intimately close to Hashem. Every experience in life is meant to bring us in contact with the Master of the World.

The Parsha continues with Yovel, another Mitzvah which takes full faith. Property, slaves and many other things go back to their original owner. Yovel was another year that one was not allowed to work his land. Another Mitzvah is that of Onaas Mamon and Onaas Devarim, paining another person through taking advantage of him with monetary unfairness and the prohibition of paining another with words. This is all part of the theme of the Parsha. How so?

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (1895-1986) explains what stops one from trying to take advantage of his friend monetarily. If we believe that Hashem is the provider of our sustenance and He decrees how much money we should have irrespective of how much effort we increase in its attainment, then we will be honest and fair in business. It is only someone that lacks this belief that feels that he can make more money by manipulating others. Additionally, it is the same regarding Onaas Devarim, when we are connected and dedicated to Hashem, then our commitment and treatment of others is in line with this. The intricate nuances and complexities of how we speak and interact with others is one that only we know in our heart what we intended by our words and intimations. When we truly are connected to Hashem, we constantly ensure that our speech and treatment of others is done with the proper love and respect befitting of another precious child of Hashem. The theme of the Parsha is that of the entire goal of Har Sinai, to bring us deeply and intimately close to Hashem!