The Limitations of Ownership

The Limitations of Ownership

May 19, 2017 By Yedida Eisenstat | Commentary | Behar | Behukkotai

Rashi, the well-known medieval northern French biblical commentator, begins his commentary on this week’s parashah with a famous question, loosely paraphrased as follows: In what way does the matter of shemittah [the sabbatical year] have anything to do with Mount Sinai? In other words, the laws of Leviticus 25—beginning with the agricultural restrictions of the seventh year, the regulations regarding the jubilee year, limitations on sale of land and slaves—are wholly dependent on Israel living in Israel. So why, Rashi asks, were these laws commanded so long before they would become relevant? Of what relevance are the laws of shemittah to the Israelites at Sinai?

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Why Do We Need a Reminder to Remember?

Why Do We Need a Reminder to Remember?

Sep 16, 2016 By Yedida Eisenstat | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

When was the last time you memorized a phone number? In the age of Gmail, iPhones, and Facebook, remembering has become a passive activity. But at the end of this week’s parashah, the Torah commands us to actively “remember what Amalek did to you… do not forget.” But what did Moses command Israel to remember and why?

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