WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Behar

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This week’s Torah Reading, Parashat Behar, includes Moses telling the Israelites about laws that will come into effect once they enter the land of Israel. For six years, the people are permitted to plant and harvest in their vineyards and fields, and then, on the seventh year, it will be a complete year of rest for the land, called the year of Shemittah, or the Sabbatical year. In the Shemittah year, the Israelites will not be allowed to work their fields, however, they will be allowed to gather and share whatever the land produces. In addition, the Torah reading instructs about the Jubilee year, Sh’nat HaYovel, the fiftieth year, the year of release for the land and all its inhabitants. In the 50th year, the land is to lie dormant, and property is to return to its original owner, and all Hebrew slaves are to be freed.

How can this relate to our lives in Sisterhood? Just as many professions have sabbaticals, which allow the employee to take a leave from their job, to recharge his/her batteries, and additionally sometimes to enroll in continuing education classes, we can implement sabbaticals in our leadership positions, as well. It is not good to have people hold the same position in an organization for too long, because it causes burnout. It is important for people in leadership to mentor other leaders to move up the ranks in the organization, and to have people change positions.

God insisted that the land lay dormant for a period of time, so that the land could rest and rejuvenate. So, too, people need to recharge their energy, and allow others to propose ideas, and see the suggestions come to fruition. We must sow the seeds for future generations of leaders.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.