Behar/Bechukosai 5770 – Wanna live a long life?

This week’s parsha promises a reward for a person who questions Hashem. In the first of the two parshas this week, the laws of Shmittah are discussed – every seven years, the land of Yisrael is not to be farmed. It is to lie fallow. The Torah states a person might wonder, “what will I eat?” Therefore, G-d promises (Vayikra 25:21), “I shall command my blessing upon you in the sixth year and make the grains be enough for three years.” The laws of Shmittah are extremely unique in that a person takes a full year off from work and is supposed to trust G-d will take care of him. If a person gets nervous, though, and asks what will he eat, G-d will give him a blessing of enough crops for the sixth, seventh, and eighth year, to remind him that G-d is in charge of all food. Rav Fischel Shachter asks a question on this. It seems like the blessing only comes to those that ask. What about someone that does not question G-d? What does he get? Rav Shachter answers that this person, of course, gets a blessing. But this person does not need the simple blessing of livelihood. He will receive a more powerful, spiritual blessing. He brings an example of a person who let his field lie fallow during the seventh year and became extremely poor. He lost his field and it seemed like the Shmittah year hurt him more than it helped him. But the farmer stated he got the best blessing a person could get: he was blessed with a child. The farmer and his wife were married for 15 years and after keeping Shmittah for the first time in their lives, they finally got the blessing of having a child! They truly got the greatest reward possible!

When things start getting tough and the cupboard is empty, sometimes people question G-d’s actions, but we must remember the greatest blessing comes to those that do not question nor complain.

There was once a man who was over 100 years old. One of the great Sages of the generation was amazed the man lived so long and asked him for his secret. Many people would expect to hear he ate healthy food or exercised daily or something similar. The man answered something completely different though. He said he had many friends who constantly asked G-d why He was doing what He was doing. Eventually, G-d decided to have compassion on these people and show them the answer, but to do this, he needed to remove them from this world (i.e. die). This man never questioned what G-d did. He understood there was a deeper meaning to everything that is done in this world and therefore, G-d gave him a long life.

If a person wants answers, G-d will show them to him, but he might lose out on a greater reward by receiving those answers. A person needs to always weigh if it is worth complaining about or if he should just realize he is not in control. Shmittah is a lesson of not being in control – realizing G-d is in control. The person who truly realizes G-d’s power will get the ultimate blessing.

Good Shabbos!
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