SALT - Wednesday, 10 Iyar 5776, Omer 25 - May 18, 2016

  • Rav David Silverberg

            The Torah in Parashat Behar discusses the situation of a person who came upon hard times and was forced to sell his land.  When the land is reclaimed, the Torah instructs, the purchase price must be determined based on the number of years in which it had been held by the buyer.  The value of land of Eretz Yisrael depends upon the number of years remaining until the yovel, when lands are returned to their original owners, and so the price for reclaiming sold land will be determined by reducing the value of the years in which the land had been in the buyer’s possession.

            In discussing this law, the Torah envisions two possible scenarios: the seller’s relative reclaims the land on his behalf (25:25), or the seller himself somehow obtains the funds he needs to buy back his property: “And a person who does not have a redeemer – and he is able to acquire enough that he can afford his redemption…” (25:26).

            The Melekhet Machashevet (cited in Likutei Batar Likutei) comments that the Torah perhaps subtly conveys here an important lesson in self-sufficiency.  Often, when a person realizes that he has no “go’el,” there is nobody who can help him, “ve-hisiga yado u-matza kedei ge’ulato” – he finds within himself the capabilities to solve his problem.  The second scenario envisioned by the Torah – where the seller manages to financially recover so he can buy back his property – may be read not merely as the second of two possible situations, but rather as a likely outcome of the first: if nobody is available to help the individual, he will find a way to help himself.  The Melekhet Machashevet writes that sometimes the possibility of outside help leads a person to a state of dependency which stifles his ambition.  The Torah thus indicates to us that although there are certainly times when we need the support and assistance of other people, we should not accustom ourselves to relying on outside help.  In many situations, we are fully capable of solving our own problems, and we should always work to try to do so rather than constantly looking to obtain the assistance of others.