D'var Torah- Parshat B'har



Jenna Levy



A d'var torah about the importance of honoring land. Originally distributed on the Hazon CSA listserve.



With fresh vegetables being delivered in bins and bunches, we are all in the midst of a new season, and in a roundabout way, this week’s Torah portion, B’har, is therefore fitting (Lev. 25:1-26:2).  This parsha discusses shemita, as every seven years “shall be a complete rest for the land,” when we should not plant crops or tend the fields – just as we need a weekly rest on Shabbat, the land too needs a break from the stress and depletion of crop cultivation. By following this law, we stand back every seventh year to observe how there are other forces at work in our immediate environments besides human intervention. 
For many of us who are not farmers, this commandment might seem an inapplicable, figurative idea, especially considering that the land that produces our food is not at rest; yet this season, a CSA is one ways that we can indirectly care for the Earth. As this week's parsha reminds us to honor and respect the land, through our Hazon CSAs we support farmers who we trust to uphold agricultural practices that honor and respect the land that they work. 
Such intentionality behind the Hazon CSA program roots this CSA in Judaism. We follow the traditional CSA structure in weekly vegetable delivery and strong commitment to supporting local agriculture; and like other CSAs, Hazon CSAs work to build community and educate members about food, sustainability, and small-scale agriculture. However, Hazon CSAs also point out the intersection of Judaism and contemporary food issues and therefore provides an exciting opportunity for synagogues and JCCs to offer outstanding educational programs both within the CSA community and beyond.
And so, while B’har tells us of how cycles end, we also remember that every end leads to a new beginning as we work towards a more sustainable world by honoring the earth in supporting local, small-scale, organic agriculture. Here's to a delicious and thought-provoking season.
Cited Texts:
AJWS offers On1Foot as a resource to the community out of our desire to encourage and enrich the ongoing conversation about Judaism and Social Justice. The statements made and views expressed in this work are solely the responsibility of their authors.

Comments on this Text