Call to Action: BeHar 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Why is tragedy often a more effective wake-up call than success? Do we react so frequently to tragedies more out of a true sense of concern or out of a guilt-ridden suspicion that we hadn’t done enough to address the symptoms that led to the tragedy?

As we mourn the tragic events on Buffalo’s east side last Saturday, we recall an ancient wake-up call that announces imminent change:

The Pitch: “You shall sound the horn loud; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month—the Day of Atonement—you shall have the horn sounded throughout your land …” – Leviticus 25:9

Swing #1: “Jewish women are holding their breaths for the great shofar blast that guarantees our freedom. The [sabbatical and jubilee years] are times for radical redefinition of what exists, and redefinition is one of the major tasks of Jewish feminists as we reimagine ourselves, our relationships, Torah, tradition, and God.” – Sharon Brous & Jill Hammer in The Women’s Torah Commentary: New Insights From Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions

Swing #2: “[The horn shall be sounded] as an expression of joy over the liberation of the slaves and the restoration of lands whose sale had been forced by economic necessity to its original owners or their heirs.” – Sforno

Swing #3: “The sabbatical and Jubilee years are interconnected in time, like the sun and the moon in the universe, like Israel and humanity in the world of souls. The particular and the universal are profoundly interdependent in the most vital and spiritual sense; the particular needs the universal, and the universal needs the particular.” – Shabbat HaAretz

Late-Inning Questions: How do our commentators understand freedom? How are financial freedom and freedom from discrimination often intertwined? How do acts of tzedakah create more freedom for all?

On-Deck at TBT: Please continue to help our brothers and sisters in need of fresh food and other daily essentials. Consult here for a full list of resources and information.

Shabbat Shalom!