Behar: The beginning of this week’s parashah focuses on the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, which will take effect after the people enter the Promised Land. Both of these laws seek social equality, with the Sabbatical annulling debts every seventh year and the Jubilee every fifty years returning land to its original tribal owners. The Bible offers hope to the impoverished of new beginnings. Remarkably, these laws are described as given at Sinai, although the Torah reading is much further along in the cycle of readings. In our Etz Hayim text, the following commentary is provided (edited by Rabbi Harold Kushner):
Why does the Torah emphasize that these agricultural laws were promulgated at Mount Sinai? Perhaps because at Sinai no one owned any land yet, and no one could object that the law deprived people of what they had worked to acquire. It is easier to propose a visionary system of equality when all start out equal. Another interpretation: Just as Sinai was the smallest of the mountains but the words spoken there changed the world, so the people Israel, among the smallest nations, presents a vision of social justice that has the power to change the world.
Grand Canyon photos. I am an Arizona native and have spent much time hiking different parts of the Grand Canyon. Dangling my feet on a cliff half way down to the Colorado River, surrounded by the colorful walls stretching into the distance, I have felt genuine awe. I share some professional photos for pre-Shabbat uplift: http://www.humfer.net/gcanyon/index.html