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Parashat Behar

Shabbat Year and Jubilee

25 Then Adonai said to Moses on Mount Sinai, “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael and tell them: When you come into the land which I give you, then the land is to keep a Shabbat to Adonai. For six years you may sow your field and for six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits. But in the seventh year there is to be a Shabbat rest for the land—a Shabbat to Adonai. You are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard. You are not to reap what grows by itself during your harvest nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. It is to be a year of Shabbat rest for the land. Whatever the Shabbat of the land produces will be food for yourself, for your servant, for your maidservant, for your hired worker and for the outsider dwelling among you. Even for your livestock and for the animals that are in your land—all its increase will be enough food.

“You are to count off seven Shabbatot of years—seven times seven years, so that the time is seven Shabbatot of years—49 years. Then on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom Kippur, you are to sound a shofar blast—you are to sound the shofar all throughout your land. 10 You are to make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It is to be a Jubilee to you, when each of you is to return to his own property and each of you is to return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year will be your Jubilee. You are not to sow, or reap that which grows by itself, or gather from the untended vines. 12 Since it is a Jubilee, it is to be holy to you. You will eat from its increase out of the field.

13 “In this Year of Jubilee each of you will return to his property.

14 “If you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you are not to wrong one another. 15 Corresponding to the number of years after the Jubilee you are to purchase land from your neighbor’s hand. He is to sell it to you based on the number of years of crops. 16 In proportion to the extent of years you may increase its price, or decrease its price in proportion to the fewness of years, because he is selling a number of harvests to you. 17 You are not to cheat one another, but fear your God, for I am Adonai your God.

18 “Therefore you are to keep My statutes and observe My ordinances, and carry them out, so that you may live securely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you may eat your fill and live there in safety. 20 Now if you ask: What are we to eat during the seventh year if, see, we are not to sow, nor gather in our increase? 21 Now I will command My blessing to you in the sixth year, so that it will yield a harvest sufficient for three years. 22 When you sow during the eighth year, you will still be eating the old, stored harvest until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

23 “Moreover, the land is not to be sold permanently, because the land is Mine. For you are sojourners with Me. 24 For any land you possess, you are to provide for redemption of the land.

25 “If your brother becomes poor and sells some of his property, then his nearest kinsman may come and redeem what his brother has sold. 26 If a man has no kinsman-redeemer, but he himself recovers and finds sufficient means to redeem it, 27 then let him reckon the years since its sale and restore the surplus to the man to whom he sold it. Then he will return to his property. 28 But if he is not able to get it back for himself, then what he has sold is to remain in the hand of the one who has bought it until the Year of Jubilee. Then in the Jubilee it should be released, so he may return to his property.

29 “If a man sells a house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it has been sold. For a full year he has the right of redemption. 30 But if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city will belong permanently to the one who bought it throughout his generations. It will not be released in the Jubilee. 31 But the houses of the villages that have no wall around them are to be considered as open country. They have redemption rights and are to be released in the Jubilee.

32 “But as for the towns of the Levites, the Levites may have a permanent right of redemption for the houses in the towns of their possession. 33 The Levites may redeem a house sold in the town of its possession. Also it should be released in the Jubilee, for the houses of the Levitical towns are their possession among Bnei-Yisrael. 34 But the fields in the pasturelands of their cities may not be sold, for it is their permanent possession.

35 “If your brother has become poor and his hand cannot support himself among you, then you are to uphold him. He may live with you like an outsider or a temporary resident. 36 Take no excessive interest from him, but fear your God, so that your brother can live with you. 37 You are not to lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. 38 I am Adonai your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 “If your brother has grown poor among you and sells himself to you, you must not subject him to slave labor. 40 Let him stay with you as a hired worker or as a temporary resident. He will work for you until the Year of Jubilee, 41 then he is to be released from you—he and his children with him—and may return to his own family and to the property of his fathers. 42 For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. They are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 You are not to rule over him with harshness, but fear your God.

44 “As for your male and female slaves whom you may acquire out of the nations that are around you—from them you may buy male and female slaves. 45 You may also acquire from among the children of the foreigners dwelling among you, as well as from their families who are with you—those born in your land—they may also become your property. 46 You may also leave them an inheritance for your children after you, to receive as a possession. These may become your slaves permanently. But over your brothers, Bnei-Yisrael, you must not rule over one another with harshness.

47 “If an outsider or sojourner with you becomes rich, while your brother beside him has become poor and sells himself to the outsider dwelling among you or to a member of the outsider’s family, 48 after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him, or anyone who is a close relative to him from his family may also redeem him. Or if he has grown rich, he may redeem himself. 50 He is to calculate with the one who bought him, from the year that he sold himself to the Year of Jubilee, and the price of his sale will be in proportion to the number of years. Like the days of a hired worker it will be with him. 51 If there are still many years, in proportion to those he is to reimburse the price of his redemption from his purchase price. 52 If there remain only a few years until the Year of Jubilee, then he should calculate with him in proportion to his years of service he is to reimburse the price of his redemption. 53 He will stay with him as a hired worker, year by year. But he is not to rule with harshness over him in your sight. 54 Even if he is not redeemed by these means, then he will still be released in the Year of Jubilee—he and his children with him. 55 For Bnei-Yisrael are My servants—My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am Adonai your God.

26 “You are not to make idols for yourselves, nor raise up an engraved image or a standing-stone, or place any carved stone in your land to bow down to it. For I am Adonai your God.

“You are to keep My Shabbatot and have reverence for My Sanctuary. I am Adonai.

Parashat Bechukotai

Faithfulness Ensures Blessings

“If you walk in My statutes, keep My mitzvot and carry them out, then I will give you rains in their season, the land will yield its crops, and the trees of the field will yield their fruit. Your threshing will last until grape gathering, the grape gathering will last until the sowing time, you will eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land.

“I will bring shalom in the land, and you will lie down, with no one making you afraid. I will remove dangerous beasts from the land and no sword will pass through your land. You will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword. Five of you will chase 100 and 100 of you will chase 10,000, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

“I will turn toward you, make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. 10 You will eat the old harvest and clear out the old because of the new. 11 I will set My Tabernacle among you, and My soul will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and will be your God, and you will be My people. [a] 13 I am Adonai your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves, and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.

Faithlessness Ensures Misery

14 “But if you will not listen to Me, nor carry out all these mitzvot, 15 and if you reject My statutes and if your soul abhors My ordinances, so that you do not keep all My mitzvot, but instead break My covenant, 16 then I will do the following to you in return. I will appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever that will dim the eyes and cause the soul to pine away. You will sow your seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set My face against you and you will be routed before your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one pursues you.

18 “If you, in spite of these things, will not listen to Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins. 19 I will break your pride of power. I will make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 Also your strength will be spent in vain, for your land will not yield its increase, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.

21 “if you keep walking contrary to Me and will not listen to Me, then I will multiply the plagues on you seven times like your sins. 22 I will send the wild animals among you, which will rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you so few in number that your roads will become deserted.

23 “Now if in spite of these things you will not be chastened by Me, but walk contrary to Me instead, 24 then I will also walk contrary to you. Then I will strike you, I Myself, seven times for your sins. 25 I will bring a sword upon you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant, and you will be gathered together inside your cities. I will send the pestilence among you and you will be given into the hand of the enemy. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread by weight, so that you will eat but not be satisfied.

27 “Yet if in spite of this you will not listen to Me but walk contrary to Me, 28 then I will walk contrary to you in wrath. So I will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and you will eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places and cut down your altars of incense, cast your dead bodies upon the bodies of your idols, and My soul will abhor you. 31 I will lay waste your cities and devastate your sanctuaries. I will not smell your soothing aromas. 32 I will make the land desolate and your enemies settling there will be astonished at it. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and I will draw out the sword after you. So your land will become a desolation and your cities will become a waste. 34 Then the land will enjoy its Shabbatot all the days of its desolation, while you are in the land of your enemies. Then the land will rest and enjoy its Shabbatot. 35 As long as it lies desolate it will have rest, that rest which it did not have from your Shabbatot, when you lived on it.

36 “As for those who remain, I will bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies, so that the sound of a driven leaf will put them to flight, and they will flee as one flees from the sword and fall, even when no one is pursuing. 37 They will stumble over one another, as if before the sword, when no one pursues, and you will have no strength to stand before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations and the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who are left in the land of your enemies will rot away because of their iniquity, and because of the iniquities of their fathers they will rot away with them.

Adonai Remembers His Own

40 “But if they confess their iniquity and that of their fathers, in the treachery they committed against Me, and how they walked contrary to Me 41 —in return I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—and if at that time their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled, so that they accept the punishment for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob and also My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 But the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Shabbatot while it lies desolate without them, and they will accept the punishment of their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes.

44 “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I hate them into utter destruction, and break My covenant with them, for I am Adonai their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am Adonai.”

46 These are the statutes, ordinances and laws, which Adonai made between Himself and Bnei-Yisrael at Mount Sinai by Moses.

Divine Appraisals

27 Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael and say to them: When anyone makes a special vow to Adonai involving the valuation of persons, then your valuation of a male from 20 years old to 60 years old should be 50 shekels of silver, after the shekel of the Sanctuary. If it is a female, then your valuation should be 30 shekels. If the person is from five years to 20 years old, then your valuation is to be 20 shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female. If the person is from one month to five years old, then your valuation is to be five shekels of silver for a male and three shekels of silver for a female. If the person is from 60 years old and upward, if it is a male, then your valuation is to be 15 shekels and for a female ten shekels. But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he is to be set before the kohen and the kohen will set a value for him, in keeping with what the one who made the vow can afford.

“Now if it is an animal that may be brought as an offering to Adonai, anything that one gives to Adonai will be holy. 10 He is not to replace it or exchange it, either good for bad, or bad for good. But if he does exchanges one animal for another, then both it and the one for which it is exchanged will become holy. 11 If it is any sort of unclean animal that may not be brought as an offering to Adonai, then he is to set that animal before the kohen. 12 The kohen is to evaluate it, whether it is good or bad. As the kohen values it, so it will be. 13 But if he would redeem it, then he is to add a fifth to its valuation.

14 “If a man consecrates his house as holy to Adonai, then the kohen is to evaluate it, whether it is good or bad. As the kohen evaluates it, so it will stand. 15 If the one who dedicates it would redeem his own house, then he is to add a fifth of the money of your valuation to it, and it will become his.

16 “If one consecrates to Adonai part of the field of his possession, then your valuation is to be in proportion to the seed to sow it: an omer of barley at 50 shekels of silver. 17 If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, it will stand according to your own valuation. 18 But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the kohen is to calculate for him the money according to the years that remain until the Year of Jubilee, with a deduction to be made from your valuation. 19 He who dedicated the field would ever redeem it, then he is to add a fifth of the money of your valuation to it, and it will remain his. 20 But if he will not redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to someone else, it may not be redeemed anymore. 21 But the field, when it is released in the Jubilee, will be holy to Adonai as a consecrated field. It will be owned by the kohanim.

22 “Now if one consecrates to Adonai a field that he has bought, which is not from the fields of his possession, 23 then the kohen is to calculate for him the worth of your valuation up to the Year of Jubilee, and give your valuation on that day as a holy thing to Adonai. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field is to return to the one from whom it was bought, to the one to whom the possession of the land belongs. 25 All your valuations should be according to the shekel of the Sanctuary, 20 gerahs to the shekel.

26 “But the firstborn among animals, which is made a firstborn to Adonai, may be dedicated by anyone. Whether an ox or sheep, it belongs to Adonai. 27 If it is an unclean animal, then he is to buy it back according to your valuation, and add a fifth of the value to it. But if it is not redeemed, then it is to be sold according to your valuation.

28 “Nevertheless, no devoted thing which a man sets apart from all that he has for Adonai, whether man or animal, or from the field of his possession, may be sold or redeemed. Every devoted thing is most holy to Adonai.

29 “No one who may be set apart from men for destruction is to be ransomed. He is surely to be put to death.

30 “All the tithe of the land whether from the seed of the land, or the fruit of the trees, belongs to Adonai, for it is holy to Adonai. 31 If a man redeems anything of his tithe he must add a fifth part to it. 32 From all the tithe of the herds or the flocks, whatever passes under the rod, a tenth will be holy to Adonai. 33 One is not to inquire if it is good or bad, nor exchange it. Or if he does exchange it, then both it and that for which it is exchanged will become holy, and may not be redeemed.”

34 These are the mitzvot which Adonai commanded Moses for Bnei-Yisrael on Mount Sinai.


  1. Leviticus 26:13 cf. Rev. 21:3.