As Jews, we are instructed to give a portion of our resources to those in need every year. But every seventh year the Shmita year heralds a year of release for the land, along with the canceling of all debt. It also challenges and inspires us to approach how we share our financial resources in new ways. In this Shmita year of 2020–2021, let us lean into Jewish tradition’s powerful framework for thinking about wealth as abundant, inherently collective, and transformative.
Completely redesigned with the user experience in mind, many additional sources, and more thorough commentary and explanations; the updated Shmita Sourcebook is designed to encourage readers to think critically about Shmita, its values, challenges, and opportunities, and how we might apply the Shmita tradition in a modern context to support building healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities today. The updated Sourcebook draws on a range of texts from within Jewish tradition, tracing the development and evolution of Shmita from biblical, rabbinic, historical, and contemporary perspectives. This comprehensive, accessible sourcebook is well-suited for individual, partnered, and group study, with guiding text and discussion questions to enhance your learning, regardless of educational background. The Hazon Shmita Sourcebook offers a holistic understanding of Shmita, from the depth of Jewish tradition to the most pressing issues of our time.
Shmita is the Torah’s prescription for environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Today, climate change is the biggest threat to sustainability.
Rabbi Shai Held joined Shmita Project Northwest on 4/13/21 to discuss the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy). Despite our usual associations of Shemitah (the Sabbatical year) with land, Shemitah in Devarim is about something else: It is a year for remitting debts and liberating slaves. In this session, we’ll do a close reading of Devarim 15, and explore such questions as: What kind of social ethic does Devarim seek to instill? How does it work to ensure that there will be no permanent underclass in the land of Israel? What strategies does it use to motivate people to treat one another generously? Along the way, we’ll see how Devarim radicalizes the social vision of Shemot (Exodus).