The Torah Portion of Behar
Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l
"A Shabbat for Hashem" (Vayikra 25:2)
The Holy One Blessed Be He commanded to fulfill the Mitzvah of Shmittah and Yovel, in order that everyone would know that the Holy One Blessed Be He is the owner of all the world, and therefore it is called "A Shabbat for Hashem" . (Vayikra 25:2)
"A Shabbat for Hashem" (Vayikra 25:2)
For all fields it is good for them to rest a certain period of time, and that is beneficial so that they will grow better afterwards, and therefore it is written "A Shabbat for Hashem" (Vayikra 25:2), because it is necessary to fulfill the Mitzvah of Shmittah and Yovel for the sake of Heaven and not for the sake of benefiting the field.
"The land shall observe a Shabbat for Hashem (Vayikra 25:2)
Shmittah is similar to Shabbat; by way of the Shabbat the entire week becomes blessed as is stated in the Zohar, and similarly the Sages state, that from the year of the Shmittah the other six years become blessed.
"Do not harass one another" (Vayikra 25:17)
The verse is speaking about verbal harassment. It is forbidden to cause suffering to one's fellow man, and forbidden to give him advice that is not beneficial to him but which is to the benefit of the person who is giving the advice.
"Do not subjugate him through hard labor" (Vayikra 25:43)
It's forbidden for a person to request a favor from his friend when he knows that it will be a burden for him, because he thereby transgresses the prohibition of "Do not subjugate him through hard labor" (Vayikra 25:43) (from Rabeinu Yonah)
There were 12,000 pairs of students who studied under Rebbe Akiva from Gabbata to Antipatris, and all of them died during one time period because they didn't behave to each other respectfully. And the world was desolate until Rebbe Akiva came to our Rabbis in the South and taught to them: Rebbe Meir, Rebbe Yehuda, Rebbe Yosi, Rebbe Shimon, and Rebbe Elazar ben Shamua. And these were the ones who upheld the Torah at that time. It is taught that all (of the 12,000 pairs of students) died between Pesach and Shavuot. (Yevamot 62b)
One of the righteous people traveled one time to the gravesite of Rebbe Akiva, and it was very difficult for him to reach that place because it was a rocky road, and after he went a certain distance, he said that he didn't have the strength to continue, and he returned. He said to his students: I will already meet Rebbe Akiva in the Mishna and the Gemara. And so it was also said by a particular Rav to his students, that it is possible to meet Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in the Mishna and the Gemara. May his merit protect us and all of Israel, Amen.
It is written in books: On Lag Ba'omer the soul of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai spreads out over the whole world, and someone who does not travel to his gravesite in Meron in order to pray, is able to pray in any place.
Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai said that if he had been at Mount Sinai he would have requested that two mouths be given to man, one for Torah and one for other things, except that he was concerned that if we had two mouths, we would be liable to destroy both of them with Lashon Hara (evil talk). (From the Yerushalmi Gemara)
Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai says: Great is the honoring of father and mother, for Hashem made honoring them equivalent to honoring Himself.
"His Torah protects us; it enlightens our eyes; he serves as a good advocate for us, our master Bar Yochai" (from the traditional songs sung on the night of Lag Ba'omer)
The Torah Portion of Behar has 57 verses, 7 positive commandments and 17 negative commandments. Haftora: "Vayomer Yirmiyahu" (Yirmiyahu 32)
Pirkei Avot, Chapter 5.
May you all have a light-filled and happy Shabbat.
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772