The Land Sabbath in Modern Israel

The Land Sabbath in Modern Israel

by Doug Ward, Ph.D.


“Rest can be hard to come by in twenty-first century Western societies. With so much to do, it is all too easy for us to become enslaved to our busy schedules. The Bible gives indications that our Creator did not intend for us to live such restless and hurried lives. In Genesis 2:1-3 we read that God rested on the seventh day of the creation week, setting an example for mankind. Later, in proclaiming the Decalogue from Mt. Sinai, God reminded the children of Israel of that example

(Exod. 20:8-11).
The weekly Sabbath is one of the foundations of the Torah, God’s wise and loving instruction for his people. The Torah also makes provision for the land of Israel to “rest” every seven years (see Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:1-7). In a sabbatical year (known in Jewish tradition as a “shemittah year,” from a Hebrew word in Exod. 23:11 that means “let drop”), farmers are not to plant seed, prune their trees, or harvest crops. For that year the land becomes public property, and people may take what grows by itself according to their needs. The seventh year is also a time for cancellation of debts (Deut. 15:1-2) and release of indentured servants (Deut.  15:12-18).
The sabbatical commandments of the Torah are designed to maintain and strengthen the relationship between God and his people….”
(this article is an excerpt from the May-June 2005 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)


To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 4, click this link:

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