DEDICATED IN LOVING MEMORY OF ISAAC GAMEL ז''ל BY HIS FAMILY

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Length: 46 minutes
As we count between Pesach and Shavuos, we work to understand the unique potential and role of Adam. There are many elements of this, one of which is expressed through the ideas of shemittah and yovel, which we learn about in Parshas Behar. During those years, we are freed from our connection to the earth in order to serve Hashem completely, and remember that we are slaves only to Him. Many of our actions are motivated by nature or the society around us, but we want to be primarily motivated by the Torah and our connection to Hashem. It is in these areas that we can truly express our free choice.
Length: 58 minutes
When the yovel year comes, all slaves are freed, reminding us that we can be slaves to no one other than Hashem. As we count between Pesach to Shavuos, we move toward the time when we bring the bikkurim (first fruits) to the Beis Hamikdash, recognizing that what we produce from the land is not our own. Kayin, the first farmer, should have brought this offering to show recognition to Hashem, but he brought the lowest quality produce. This attitude reflects a self-serving one, trying to get the most out of what the land has to offer. However, our job is to recognize that everything comes from Hashem, and we bring proper offerings to reflect this understanding.
Length: 46 minutes
The topic of shemittah is discussed right next to Har Sinai, which begs for explanation. We explore this concept through a deeper understanding of the first farmer in the Torah, Kayin. Kayin was a slave to the earth who only brought an offering to Hashem as a token, without understanding or accepting His full involvement. In contrast, his brother Hevel was a shepherd, as he did not want to be subservient to the ground; rather, Hevel wanted to remain fully cognizant of Hashem as the true Master of All. As we stand in the days preparing for Kabbalas Hatorah, we reinforce the ideas of shemittah, resting from working the land, recognizing that Hashem alone is our Master.
Length: 56 minutes
Rav Shimon bar Yochai was able to live a life of pure Torah, where nothing else mattered. He truly did not care about the material world and comforts and spent every moment learning .Torah and did not concern himself with worldly matters. The rest of Klal Yisrael has to concern and involve themselves with physical matters because the level of Torah is not the same.
Length: 47 minutes
The korban omer parallels to the mann in that they both force one to recognize the bracha that Hashem is giving. The blessing He gives is not in an obvious quantitative way, rather, it is a bracha that comes modestly. When we doubt that Hashem will take care of us, and give bracha, then He gives large quantities in an obvious manner. The ideal, though, is to recognize the quality within the bracha Hashem gives. We must recognize He takes care of every detail, and not get stuck worrying about the comfort of the quantity that we see with our bare eyes.
Length: 56 minutes
The brachos (blessings) associated with shemittah are expressed in similar language to the words that we say in the bracha (blessing) of Bareich Aleinu in Shemoneh Esrei. There is a great emphasis on the blessing of the land and the fruits as a harbinger of geulah (redemption), as the lush produce reflects the presence of Hashem on this earth. Now, in golus (exile), we ask Hashem to place His bracha on the face of the earth, but not actually within the earth itself. We yearn to go back to a time when Hashem’s bracha will be within the earth and within us, when we can eat the lush fruits of Eretz Yisroel and be satisfied from even small amounts.
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