|When you enter the land and plant any tree for food, you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden for you, not to be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit shall be set aside for a Jubilee before the Lord; and only in its fifth year may you use its fruit- that its yield to you may be increased: I am the Lord your God. [JPS]||
וְכִי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל עֵץ מַאֲכָל וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ אֶת פִּרְיוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים לֹא יֵאָכֵל: וּבַשָּׁנָה הָרְבִיעִת יִהְיֶה כָּל פִּרְיוֹ קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים לַיקֹוָק: וּבַשָּׁנָה הַחֲמִישִׁת תֹּאכְלוּ אֶת פִּרְיוֹ לְהוֹסִיף לָכֶם תְּבוּאָתוֹ אֲנִי יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֵיכֶם:
1. What does the biblical notion of Jubilee imply about Jewish historical roots in environmentalism and ethical consumption?
2. Why maintain this law? What are modern day reasons for jubilee?
|The Eternal One placed the human being in the Garden of Eden, to till it and to tend it||
וַיִּקַּח יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ בְגַן עֵדֶן לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ
1. What does this say about the earth and our "ownership" of it?
2. When was the last time you took stock in the earth and made responsible decisions regarding the food you eat, farms you buy from, or water quality in your city?
|One generation goes, another comes, but the earth remains the same forever. [JPS]||
דּוֹר הֹלֵךְ וְדוֹר בָּא וְהָאָרֶץ לְעוֹלָם עֹמָדֶת:
1. What is our responsibility to maintain the earth for future generations?
2. What does it mean that the earth remains the same forever?
3. Is this true - Must we sustain it or can it sustain itself?
|At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall lay it up inside your gates... and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.||
מִקְצֵה שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים תּוֹצִיא אֶת כָּל מַעְשַׂר תְּבוּאָתְךָ בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִוא וְהִנַּחְתָּ בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ: וּבָא הַלֵּוִי כִּי אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק וְנַחֲלָה עִמָּךְ וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתוֹם וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְאָכְלוּ וְשָׂבֵעוּ לְמַעַן יְבָרֶכְךָ יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדְךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה:
1. Do you think that there is a difference between the mitzvah of leaving the corners of your field unharvested (Peah) and the mitzvah of not returning to pick up what was left or forgotten (Shich'cha)? If so, what is the difference?
2. According to these verses, how much of any harvest belongs to the “land-owner?” Why? What does this tell us about who really “owns” the land? the trees? the labor? the produce?
3. What is the value of having the needy come to harvest their own portion?
4. We do not live in an agricultural society today. Do you think this text has contemporary relevance? How might we apply this sense of mandatory sharing of our earnings to the world we live in?
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