Goal Oriented

“…When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Shabbos to G-d. For six years you may sow your field …but in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest…” – Vayikra 25:2-3

כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַה’: שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶך . . וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ – ד-ב כה ,ויקרא

The shemitah cycle begins with six years of work, followed by ayear of shemitah, a sabbatical year. Yet when the Torah introduces the command of shemitah, it opens with the statement, “when you come to the land…the land shall rest a Shabbos to G-d,” implying that shemitah is observed from the start, even before the six years of work begin. This teaches us, explains the Alter Rebbe in Likutei Torah (Behar 40d), that the shemitah observed in the seventh year must be the underlying theme of the first six years as well. In other words, we must establish our six years of working the land on the ideal that our ultimate goal is the year that is “Shabbos to G-d,” when our freedom from work will allow us devote our time to purely holy pursuits, such as extensive Torah study. This awareness affects our attitude and conduct throughout the years of work. In turn, our “shemitah-oriented” conduct in the six years ensures that our seventh year is truly sanctified, provided for by G-d (in advance) with an abundance of material good as well.

Goal Oriented

We must likewise apply this shemitah model in the homes we build and the families we raise. The bulk of a Jewish parent’s day might be occupied by tasks that seem mundane, identical to the tasks of a non-Jewish parent. The mitzvah of shemitah teaches us, however, that these activities are not the same when from the very get-go, when the child is born, the goal is set to raise this child to be “Shabbos-like,” free to grow and thrive in Judaism and holiness, with no other concerns whatsoever. The effects of bearing this goal in mind will be evident and clear in the way we raise our children, whereby we will successfully raise children who are truly “Shabbos-like”—entirely devoted to G-d, and provided for by Him with an abundance of goodness and prosperity.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 12, pp. 247-250

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