Did you know that, if you have any slaves in your house, you must release them and their children at the next jubilee year? Also, if any of your close relatives have been sold into slavery, you must redeem them as soon as you can get the funds together. Actually, the jubilee, every fiftieth year, does not apply when all the tribes are not living in Israel. At least that is the general opinion. Still, the principles are good ones and go well together with the commands not to take advantage of those in need by lending at exorbitant interest, returning property to its original owner at the jubilee via a system of purchase similar to that applied to leasehold properties today, and letting the land rest every seven years. All these rules are laid out in B’har, which comes before this week’s parsha of B’chukkotai. Here, God lays out the rewards for obedience and the punishments for disobedience, a theme which will appear again in D’varim. The rewards are comforting, the punishments frightening, but there is always the promise of God’s forgiveness in the event of repentence, something we most imperfect of beings must rely on.
There is more in the parsha than I can fit here, despite B’chukkotai and B’har being particularly short parshiot. You can find out a great deal and join together in another wonderful Shabbat experience by turning up this Saturday at 10.30. Adam Feldman will be leading us.
Chazak, chazak v’nitchazek!