Shmita is... Mindfulness    Wisdom   Tradition Contemplation

Texts and Essays

Text, essays, videos, and audio relating to parshat Behar and shmita from our friends and partners at 929.
(NeoHasid.org): Explore the connection between the covenant of Shmita and the covenant of the Rainbow, given to humanity when Noah and his family left the ark, after the flood waters receded. Both covenants frame sacred relationships between humans, animals, and earth.
This is an article written by Yigal Deutscher for Tikkun magazine, visioning Shmita as a holistic cultural blueprint for creating resilient communities.
(Neohasid.org): An exploration of early biblical texts, such as the creation story, the fall from Eden, and the flood as a way to understand the deeper meaning and eternal covenant of the Shmita tradition.
This essay by Rabbi David Seidenberg, first printed in Tikkun magazine in 2008, explores how the Jubilee and our connection to land, in particular, can help to reframe our human role in the ecology of life and our relationship to earth.
(Jewish Farm School): Foundational teachings of Judaism for the ethics and values of sustainability, as rooted in the creation story, the building of the Mishkan, and the paradigm of Shmita.
Rabbi Micha Odenheimer calls attention to the potency and profound need of Shmita, and challenges us to begin exploring this vision however we can, as an offering to the world.
(The Shalom Center): A call to action and resource guide to support individuals and communities moving their money away from economic institutions- banks and businesses- that do not support the Shmita values of local, mutually-supportive, and ecologically-healthy economies.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:1-7, 18-21
This essay by Rabbi Jeremy Benstein is an exploration of the idea and concept of ‘sustainability’, deepening this worldview by linking it with cycles of time, cycles of renewal, and Shmita.
A personal reflection on the values of the Sabbatical concept from the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub.
An excerpt from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s beautiful, timeless poetic exploration of the gift of Shabbat.
Rav Kook's Introduction to Shabbat Ha'Aretz is the first-ever English translation of the introduction to a book on shmita (Biblical sabbatical year) by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the land of Israel in the 20th century. His essay, written in 1909, is lyrical and mystical, a meditation on the big themes that underlie religious environmentalism.
Rabbi Dani Passow offers a glimpse into the sacred practice of rest and how integral this is to a holistic relationship with Torah
A festive meal to honor and celebrate the food traditions of the Sabbatical Year
Published by E-Jewish Philanthropy, this article offers seven points for funders to consider in creating philanthropic models inspired by Shmita values.
This essay by Rabbi David Seidenberg explores the possibility that perhaps the whole purpose of the Covenant at Sinai was to create a society that observed Shmita, and that Shmita creates the possibility to bring the world back into an Edenic harmony.
This short article by Rabbi Jeremy Benstein is a glimpse into a chapter about Shmita Rabbi Benstein has written in his book, The Way into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006)
The Shmita Sourcebook is designed to encourage participants to think critically about the Shmita Cycle – its values, challenges, and opportunities – and how this tradition might be applied in a modern context to support building healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities today.
This essay offers an in-depth mystical reading of the Shmita Cycle from within the spiritual Torah perspective (exerpt from Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman’s book on the weekly Torah readings, Orchard of Delights)
This is a chapter from Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s book, Godwrestling: Round 2, published by Jewish Lights in 1986.