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Ty Katz - Dvar Torah

Today I will be telling you about my torah portion bhar bechukotai which teaches us many things including the 7/49 year rule. This is where every 7th year the farmers would not farm the land in order to allow it to replenish itself and every 49 years slaves are freed.

I can relate to this because the calendar week is made up of 7 days and 1 day each week is a day of rest. We call this day the sabbath. So this is a long-standing concept that is used to this day.The land should also be allowed to rest every 7 years.

In the case of slaves being released every 49 years it is harder to translate this into our modern world. On one hand, slavery is not recognised and not legalised but on the other hand, there are still many forms of slavery still in existence. For example, human trafficking and child labour and exploitation. Which is depressing that even after 3500 years since my Torah portion we are still unable to resolve this problem.

Why is slavery so bad? It is inhumane and violates a human’s rights. Putting people in unhealthy living environments against their will and forcing them to work is not OK.

Slavery is linked to Judaism through our experience of slavery in Egypt and we celebrate escaping from Pharaoh every Pesach.

Currently global warming is a very serious and real issue, in which the implementation of the 7 year rule would bring great benefit to the Earth’s recovery and sustainability. I call upon President Ramaphosa to consider this as new government policy.

Climate change is going to impact my generation more than ever and now that I am becoming bar mitzvah, and as a young Jewish adult I would like to strive to start improving the state of global warming in every way I can and encouraging young people to join me and do the same.

Thank you such more being here for my bar mitzvah - I really appreciate it.

Shabbat Shalom


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