Daf Yomi, is a page of Talmud that is studied daily by tens of thousands of people around the world. On the page studied this past Shabbos is a statement made by Elijah the Prophet. “On Yom Kippur, the Satan, who prosecutes on High, is silenced and has no power to indict the Jewish people.”
The Talmud explains a hint to Elijah’s statement. The Gematria of the Hebrew word HaSatan – the prosecutor – equals 364. We infer that for 364 days of the year the Satan has the ability bring up all the faults of the Jewish people. However, there is one day that he is silenced, and that is Yom Kippur.
The holy day of Yom Kippur, when we are all in the mode of Teshuva – repentance, is invested with such holiness that can forgive and it allows no admittance and power for the Satan to bring up our faults.
All this is hinted to in a Gematria – the numerical equivalent of a word!
Behar, the first Parsha we read this week begins with the laws of Shemitta – the Sabbatical year, where all the fields in Israel are to be left as if ownerless. No productive work is allowed to be done in the fields and no commerce may be conducted with the produce of the seventh year. The Torah calls the year a holy year.
The Torah, interestingly, introduces the Shemitta laws by mentioning that they were given at Mount Sinai. Rashi immediately asks the obvious question, “Why is Mount Sinai highlighted in the context of the laws of Shemitta? Weren’t all 613 Mitzvos given at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah?”
Rashi explains that the Torah underscores Mount Sinai by this Mitzvah to reflect on all other Mitzvos. Just as the Torah at Mount Sinai specified the many laws and details that are associated with Shemitta, so too, the details of all the Mitzvos, whether the written Torah expounds on them or not, were all given and taught orally to the Jews in full detail by our leader Moshe at Mount Sinai.
Moshe descended with the second set of Ten Commandments on the Tenth day of Tishrei – Yom Kippur. As mentioned earlier, it is the one day of the year that the Satan is silenced.
The Skolya Rebbe points out something astounding. The Gematria of the Hebrew word, Shemitta, is also 364! He explains: One reason the Torah mentions Mount Sinai regarding the laws of Shemitta is because of its association to the day of the giving of the second tablets which were given on Yom Kippur. Just as the Satan is not involved on Yom Kippur as seen by its Gematria – 364, so too, the power of observing the challenging Shemitta year imbues it with G-d’s Kedusha and counteracts the Satan’s influence during all 364 days of the year!
With the onset of this coming Rosh Hashana 5782, a Shemitta year will begin in Israel. Momentum builds and every Shemitta more field owners who in the past had not kept Shemitta become committed to do so.
Many new observers to Shemitta have taken notice and witnessed how their neighboring farmers received the Torah’s explicit guarantee of blessing to those who observe the laws, and they wish to be part of this great Mitzvah. Shemitta is called a Shabbos for the land for an entire year!
Shemitta poses a great challenge for the land owners and those who lease land and equipment. A well established fund called www.kerenhashviis.org assists farmers and helps them navigate during Shemitta, and allows us the opportunity to become partners in this great Mitzvah.
Last week Klal Yisroel suffered an enormous tragedy in Meiron that claimed the lives of 45 of our fellow Jews. It hurts and weighs us down. We as a people and nation are unique, when something unfortunate happens to one of us whether we know them or not, our true brotherhood is awakened. We respond by sighing, shedding tears, feeling the pain, praying and offering help in any way.
As we are in the midst of climbing and counting to the great day of Shavuos, a time the Torah attests we were all like one person with one heart. I think we all felt that feeling following this tragedy, and we therefore see that it is within us to continue to strive for continued Shalom with our brethren. G-d portrays our true identity as being, “To Me a Mamleches Kohanim V’goy Kadosh – A Kingdom of ministers and a holy nation!”