Skip to content

Rethinking Modern Observance of Sh’mitta

April 24, 2014

In this previous post I discussed what Maimonides would have said concerning the resumption of sh’mitta observance in the modern era, and here I discussed how areas in the Land of Israel settled by Jews in the modern era should be considered as endowed with at least the same level of sanctity as the areas resettled during the entire nine centuries of the second commonwealth, a period misleadingly referred to as the areas held by the returnees from Babylon. Misleading not by intent or in usage at the time, but rather misleading to our untrained ears, which are accustomed to considering the return from Babylon as having been limited to a few specific years.

A friend has recently pointed out that Maimonides’s opinion in Laws of Sh’mitta and Jubilees 12:15-16 supports my theses:

When the Jews were exiled after the first destruction [of the Temple], the sanctity of the walled cities from Joshua’s time were nullified. When Ezra ascended at the time of the second entry into the land, all of the walled cities of that time became consecrated. For the entry [into the land] at the time of Ezra, i.e., the second entry, was comparable to the entry at the time of Joshua. Just as [after] their entry at the time of Joshua, they counted Sabbatical years and Jubilees, sanctified the homes in walled cities and were obligated in the tithes, so too, [after] their entry in the time of Ezra, they counted Sabbatical years and Jubilees, sanctified the homes in walled cities and were obligated in the tithes.

Similarly, in the Ultimate Future, upon the third entry to the land, we will begin to count the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and sanctify the homes in walled cities, and every place that will be conquered will be obligated in [the separation of] tithes, as [Deuteronomy 30:5]: “And God your Lord will bring you to the land that your ancestors possessed as a heritage and you shall possess.” [The verse] equates [the Jews’ ultimate] possession with that of their ancestors. Just as when your ancestors took possession of the land as a heritage, they practiced the renewal of all these observances, when you take possession of the land, you should practice the renewal of all these observances.

Now we should be asking ourselves why those in charge have not, for at least the last 70 years, decided to determine what areas have been newly sanctified and which years should now be counted as sh’mitta and jubilees. 

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: