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This week's Torah reading


The Torah commands the cessation of farming the Land of Israel every seven years. This 'Shabat' for the land is called Shmitah. (5754 was a Shmittah year in Israel.) After every seventh Shmitah, the fiftieth year, Yovel (Jubilee), is announced with the sounds of the shofar on Yom Kipur; this was also a year for the land to lie fallow. HaShem promises to provide a bumper crop prior to the Shmitah and Yovel years to sustain the Jewish people. In the year of Yovel, all land is returned to its original division from the time of Joshua, and all Jewish indentured servants are freed, even if they have not completed their six years of work.

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