Commentary on Parashat Behar, Leviticus 25:1 - 26:2
Some people need to be in the driver’s seat. Some reign over the kitchen like it’s their personal kingdom, while others refuse to hand over the TV remote. It can be hard to relinquish control, in the car and at home, at work and in school. Children and adults alike take part in power struggles, vying to get their way and be in charge. What does it take to loosen our grip and share control?
This week’s Torah portion, Behar-Behukotai, teaches us an important lesson about letting go of control. Every seven years we have to give up control over our land and indentured servants. The Torah is legislating away slavery and being very “green” by giving land a year of rest from planting and harvesting.
Above the crack on the Liberty Bell, it says “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all its inhabitants!” which is in this week’s Torah portion. Our founding fathers made this ideal a foundational principle of America. How can we bring this lesson into our homes? While it may be impossible to “Proclaim liberty throughout the home, unto all its inhabitants” without creating too many fissures in the family, we can start small. Begin with sharing control over the car, in the kitchen, in front of the TV, and with our toys. Letting go is hard work, but loosening our grip will ultimately make us feel freer.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT the dangers of abusing control and the benefits of sharing.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· What’s the difference between losing control and loosening your control?
· When is being in control a good thing, and when would you benefit from sharing power?
· It has been more than 250 years since the Liberty Bell was inscribed. Has liberty been given to all the inhabitants of the land? How can you help make this ideal a reality? How can you bring this process into your own home?
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.