The Society of Sheva
About Harper Pierce
About The Society of Sheva
The Society of Sheva was arguably advanced, compared to previous civilizations before it. Before the society existed, many years ago, a cycle occurred within Jewish time. Every 7 years there was a year of rest for the land, the economy, the animals, and for us. This year was titled Shmita, and existed within a spiral of time. This spiral of time spun around an axis, the axis commonly being the number 7. As said in the first chapter of Genesis, “God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.” This was the first day. In the span of 7 days God created the sky & the oceans, the land, the sun, moon, & the stars, the birds & the fish, and the land animals. And on the seventh day, God rested. This seven-day spiral is often related to Shmita, and our daily lives within this society.
I don’t know exactly how Sheva came to be, but I know a few things. Firstly, we existed within the year of Shmita. It was no longer a year of rest, because it was no longer on occasion. Secondly, annual plants had become extinct. We could no longer tend to the land, so wild plants had taken over. Every field is mine, and every field is yours. There were no fields, no lines drawn. No Pe’ah. It all belonged to everybody, and that was the most important thing. My own backyard was a thick jungle of perennial trees, carobs and lemons hung as a curtain around my bedroom window. “Farmers” were no longer a profession, as farms simply did not exist. No tending to the land, remember? Annual plants were no longer grown in Sheva (they required tending), so we ate perennials, sfichim, and wilds exclusively. Our animals were not domesticated, and they did not work. Wild bison and cats roamed through the hills, often finding a meal in my own backyard. This was all welcomed in Sheva, as we were inarguably the Land of Rest.
One day specifically, I walked around my neighborhood in search of carrots for a recipe. I ended up at a neighbor’s house who was not very active in our neighborhood. I knocked on his door once, and got no answer. Then a second time, with no answer. On the third knock my neighbor opened the door, looking puzzled.
“Hello?” He sounded unamused.
“Hi there.” I smiled. “I’m in need of carrots for my dinner tonight, do you have any?”
“Ah.” The neighbor scratched his chin. “See I do, but I need them currently as well. Could you go somewhere else?”
I was astounded. Keeping your abundance, or shefa, from your counterparts was strictly prohibited in Sheva. Sharing your abundance, as it technically was not yours, was a large pillar of our society.
“I’m sorry, what?” I smiled again, this time with a drastic change of enthusiasm.
“I need to use the carrots I have. Please go somewhere else.”
At this point, a small crowd had gathered around the front steps of my neighbor’s house. The people spoke in hushed tones, some ready to call the authorities.
“Could we compromise?” I asked. “I only need a few.”
“No, I really do need them all. Sorry.” The man shut his door.
I turned around, dumbfounded. The brief interaction I just had was a completely new experience. I had never before met someone who refused to share. The crowd dispersed slowly, and I left my neighbor’s house, still in search of carrots. After this day, my life of course began to change. I began to realize how abnormal our society was. In other places, this refusal of sharing would be completely acceptable, and most often dismissed. I gained a new perspective this day. Our society was different. Perhaps, that is why it was so special.