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Dvar Torah - Behar-Bechukotai

What does Shmittah (the Sabbatical year) have to do with Mt Sinai? These are the famous words with which Rashi began his commentary to this week's Parsha. Rashi had noticed the strange fact that it is only with these agricultural mitzvot, uniquely associated with the Land of Israel, that the Torah emphasises they were given at Sinai. Rashi answers that this teaches us that all the mitzvot, even those seemingly least relevant to that context, were given at Sinai.

However, there is another answer that we can give. The Torah might be teaching us that the context of the Torah at Mt Sinai remained relevant, even after we entered the land of Israel and dispersed within its borders, and that remains true today. That statement is correct with regard to our relationship with G-d, but also with our relationships with each other.

A week ago, we heard about a terrible disaster in Israel. For a moment Jews everywhere forgot about their differences. Around the world, we prayed for people we have never me, whose lives we can barely imagine. In Tel Aviv, in just 24 hours, more blood was collected for the injured than what was needed, and before Magen David Adom even asked. Money was donated to help the families of the deceased, and their addresses were posed online so that multitudes could make Shiva calls. As a people we remembered that we received the Torah together, that we share a history, that we have the same destiny.

After such an event, we often simply get back to our lives. We think that we did what we could, we helped whoever we can. Now it's time for normal life to resume. And it should. But we should never forget that feeling of solidarity and togetherness. We should never forget what it felt like to unite. And maybe, if we hold onto it, we can eventually forget what it felt like to separate afterwards.

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