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DAY 16: IS THE GENERATION WORTHY?

Updated: May 31, 2020



There is a passage in which G‑d allays the apprehensions of the farmer who knows that during the Sabbatical Shemitah year his fields must rest: וכי תאמרו מה נאכל בשנה השביעית .... וצויתי את ברכתי בשנה הששית ועשת את התבואה לשלש שנים — “And if you shall say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year?...’ I shall direct My blessing to you in the sixth year, and [the land] will yield a harvest sufficient for three years.”

In addition to its plain meaning, which speaks of the sixth and seventh years in a seven-year cycle, our verses can also be understood on the non-literal level of derush as alluding to the apprehensions of the Jewish people, as the sixth millennium in the cosmic cycle of seven thousand years draws to a close. (For, as the Gemara teaches, “The world will exist for six thou­sand years.”) To interpret these verses, then, in this spirit, —

“And if you shall say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year?’ ”...:

How can we, in this orphaned generation of the “footsteps of Mashiach,” bring about the “seventh year,” i.e., “the Day which is entirely Shabbos and repose”?

“I shall direct My blessing to you in the sixth year...”:

When one carries out the spiritual tasks demanded by this era of exile, and serves G‑d during the sixth millennium with self-sacrifice and with superrational acceptance of His sovereignty, this cosmic “year” is blessed.

“And [the land] will yield a harvest sufficient for three years...”:

Divine service of the above-described caliber will yield a threefold harvest, for the revelations in the time to come will appear in three comprehensive stages: the Days of Mashiach, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Seventh Millennium.

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