(25:1) “Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moishe Behar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moishe on Har Sinai.”
Rashi asks why is this din of Shmita mentioned as coming from Sinai, weren't all the mitzvos from Sinai? He answers that just as here the details were given, so too all the mitzvos that were given at Sinai even if the details weren't mentioned they were given at Sinai. But there is another reason for it's being mentioned. At Sinai Benei Yisroel reached a level so great that they would not have needed to worry about earthly pursuits. This too was what the Shmita year meant. If they keep the mitzvos, then in the year of Shmita they won’t need to worry about food. So it was this mitzvah that encompassed the idea of totally relying on Hashem. Of leaving one’s means of sustenance entirely in the hands of his own emunah. This is also why the posuk refers to the Shmitah year as Shabbos L’Hashem. It is a year that is focused entirely towards spiritual pursuits. We need a weekly Shabbos to remind us of our purpose in going through the six work days. But we also need a Shabbos of years to absorb the emunah into our bones. The Shmita year resembles the earth before the sin.. Just as the earth before the sin produced food without labor. So too the Shmita years produces without labor.
The word Shmita has the numerical value of 364. If you calculate the number of Shabbosim there are in 7 years (52 x 7) it equals 364. But since the solar year has 52 weeks plus one day, it comes out that every seven years there is one extra Shabbos? This could be why by Yovel the posuk says Shabbos Shabbosom an extra Shabbos.
The Amida of the week days contain the same eighteen blessings for all three prayers. Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. The same is true with regards to the Amida of Yom Tov. However Shabbos is the exception. Each of the Shabbos prayers are different. The evening prayer corresponds to the original Shabbos of creation. A perfect time void of sin. The Morning prayer is a reminder of the giving of the Torah at Sinai, where Klal Yisroel attained the level of Adom before the sin. The afternoon prayer corresponds to the future Shabbos, when Moshiach will herald in the new world order.
There are three types of Shabbosim. The first is the weekly Shabbos we have that represents the end of physical creation. The second is Shmita it is the Shabbos that happens every seven years. This is the Shabbos that is embedded in history. It represents the end of time when Hashem will be able to rest from the labor of moving history to its destination. Just as the weekly Shabbos is a time to reflect on our goal in life, so too the Shmita is reminiscent of our ultimate goal in Messianic times. The Yovel is the third Shabbos. It comes every fifty years and presents the Shabbos as the contact point between creation and Hashem, when all of mankind will once again unite with the creator. It is the Shabbos of the higher world, the realm of eight which is beyond our natural world of seven..
The first Mishneh in Avos says “Moshe Kibel Torah M’Sinai-Moshe received the Torah from Sinai.” The question is didn’t Moishe receive the Torah on Sinai. What is the meaning of “from Sinai”? The Nesivos Sholom answers that Sinai here does not refer to the mountain but rather the experience. The heavens opened wide and the entire nation experienced Hashem in a way that was never again repeated. The sages teach that they had such absolute clarity of faith that they 'saw' the words of Hashem. They had no doubts about Hashem’s existence. This is what the Mishneh is teaching. Moshe received the Torah from Sinai Of course the Torah was received from Hashem. But the level of emunah that was reached through the experience at Sinai served as the conduit through which the Torah could and would flow down to us all.
(25:2) “Veshavsah Ha’aretz Shabbos L’Hashem- The land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem.” Rashi says for the name of Hashem, just as it was stated by the Shabbos of Bereishis. What does this mean? What is the connection to the Shabbos of Bereishis? We know that the first Shabbos was not commanded to anyone. It was a Shabbos to Hashem. The purpose of the creation of the physical world was for the spiritual, represented by Shabbos. The Ramban writes that the comparison between Shemitah and Shabbos is that both bear testimony to Hashem’s creation of the universe in six days and His rest on the seventh. The years of the Shimitah cycle allude to the six thousand years of this world’s existence climaxed by the seventh millennium, which will be a period of Moshiach, of peace and tranquility. If Shmita relates to Shabbos and the six days of the week relate to the 6,000 years the world is destined to exist, what then is Yovel related to?
Rabeinu Bachya writes that seven times seven years refers to the ultimate Yovel after 49,000 years which is the lifespan of the universe. This concept in turn could incorporate the concept discussed at length by the Ohr Hachaim in which the author is at pains to prove that our universe is not the first of these seven cycles but is already the fifth such cycle, previous cycles having contained lower forms of life only, including prehistoric man.
(25:2) "When you enter the land you will have Shabbos" Why is the first year upon entering the land, a Shabbos year? The Shmita year mirrors the earth before the first sin. Produce came without effort. This is the ideal, to take us back to Adom before the sin. Perhaps this is the reason for the Shabbos year at the start. To highlight that this is the goal.
(25:9) “Vehavartah Shofar Teruah B’chodesh Hashevi B’asser Lachodesh B’Yom Hakipurim-And you shall sound the shofar in the seventh month on the tenth day on Yom Kippur.” The posuk is telling us that we must blow shofar to herald in the Yovel year. The question is why wait until the tenth? Why isn’t it counted from the first of the month, from Rosh Hashana? The Midrash says that this was done in order for the slaves to prepare themselves for freedom. From Rosh Hashana on they no longer worked but they were not yet free. They would sit at their masters table and eat from their food until Yom Kippur. This has a dual effect in that it also softens the blow for the master who goes through the hardship of relinquishing his slave.
The Maharal explains that just like Yom Kippur returns things to their original state, so too does Yovel. When a person sins he falls under the rule of the Yetzer Horah and is no longer under the domain of Hashem. The Yetzer Horah rules over the physical body. So by going through a Yom Kippur he returns to Hashem and is now able to accept freedom. Also he writes that the number ten is always associated with Kiddusha. We find several examples of this throughout the Torah.
(25:19) "V'ochaltem L'sova-You shall eat your fill." Rashi says that the blessings will be in the stomach. That a person will be satisfied with less. The Kasav Sofer asks why should the blessing be to be satisfied with less? Why shouldn't there be plenty of food for everyone? He answers that people who become accustomed to excessive amounts of everything, whether food, money or luxuries, can never really feel secure. Having become dependent on more than enough they will feel deprived with anything less. Therefore the blessing is that people will not gorge themselves to excess but still be satisfied.
The Soforno distinguishes between one who trusts in Hashem, who does not question, "what will we eat in the seventh year?" and he who questions. The one who does not question will indeed, have less produce, however, it's nutritional value will far exceed that of a regular year. He will have less, but he will require less. Less will be more. The believer whose belief is not as strong will ask the question and will receive a Heavenly response in the way of a greater yield in the sixth year. His crops will be plentiful, enough to last him through the following year. Nonetheless, these crops will be of normal quality, unenhanced by Heavenly intervention.
(25:38) “Losase Lochem es-Eretz Canaan L’hiyos Lochem L’elokim-To give you the land and to be your G-d.” Rashi comments that whoever lives in Israel Hashem is his G-d and whoever leaves Eretz Yisroel is likened to an Idol worshipper. One can only be fully Jewish in Israel and one who leaves loses part of his Jewish identity. (Oznayim L’Torah)
(25:30) “B’Iyar Asher Lo Chomah-In a city that has a wall.” Rashi writes that the word Lo is read with a vav but is written with an aleph. This would mean that the Torah writes “no wall” but it means “there is a wall.” What is the meaning of this? Why would the Torah write it one way but mean the opposite? To understand this we must first understand what the walled cities were. When Yehoshua entered Eretz Yisroel he sanctified all those cities that were walled at the time. This miracle represented the fact that no human effort could stand in the way of the will of Hashem. On the other hand those walls built by the Jews contained no kiddusha because they represented the lack of faith placed in Hashem’s ability to protect them. So it comes out that the walls built by the gentiles, Lo spelled with an aleph, are viewed by the Torah as “Lo Chomah” no wall.. When read with a Vav meaning a wall built by the Jews, it is saying Lo-to him Chomah-a wall. In other words this wall was built for him (Lo) for his security which is a lack of emunah in Hashem. The selling of a house referred to here is not your typical sale where someone wishes to move up to a nicer home. Anyone who sold an ancestral dwelling did so only under the pressure of financial concerns. This follows after the warnings of a person who sells himself as a slave. Any home sold of the walled cities that were sanctified by Yehoshua could be redeemed in the first year only. After that they were lost and would not return to its original owner even at Yovel.
The parsha goes on to speak about the need to support the poor. When a person gives charity he gets more than he gives. He gives a small material amount but receives an inestimable wealth of spiritual merits. In Pirkei Avos it says there are ten things that were created each stronger than the next-1.rock, 2.iron, 3.fire, 4.water, 5.clouds, 6.wind, 7.the body, 8.fear, 9.death, 10.tzedaka, which is stronger than all of the rest. The Maharal asks “why is tzedaka stronger than the other things listed?” He explains that the first nine are naturally strong, whereas tzedaka's strength is not a physical one. It bears the kiddusha of a mitzvah. Therefore it can even overpower death, which is bound by the confines of nature.