The following is an adapted version of an article that appeared on Globe Tribune.Info in 2011.
This week, Parshat Behar, candles are lit in New York City at 7:41 PM, 18 minutes before sunset, when Shabbat begins.Of course, this time varies according to your location. Chabad.org offers a page on their site where you can find the time in your city. Articles from their site can be printed for reading on Shabbat. Aish.com is also a good site to print articles from for Shabbat.
This week’s parsha deals with sales of land and the indentured servitude of people. A person who enters indentured servitude does so until the sabbatical year, at which point they regain their freedom. Sale of land in Israel is likewise prorated according to the closeness of the sabbatical year. The parsha also talks about what an indentured servant may and may not be given for work. Weight is given to respecting the dignity of indentured servants. Interestingly enough, they may not be reminded of their former servitude after it is completed. The laws are not simple, but convey the general sense that the dignity of a worker must be respected.
Chabad.org has an article about the crusades, which were a dark chapter in Jewish history, and a time when Christians behaved a lot like radical Muslims do today. It also has an article about the concept of ritual impurity, a concept that is extremely misunderstood by people standing outside Jewish tradition.
Aish.com has an article from a Harvard admissions interviewer. Th article makes some points that are valuable to the majority of people in the world who will never be admitted to Harvard.
Although certain laws only pertain to Jewish life in the Holy Land, there are still opportunities to create an ideal society, as well as better human relationships. There are actually sections of Jewish law dealing with gossip. On the one hand, even rolling one’s eyes can be considered gossip. Praising a person in front of a person who dislikes him and will be moved to speak ill of him is also forbidden. On the other hand, if a person has information that someone is dishonest in business, a wife beater or a child molester, warning off potential victims is an obligation. There are people who devote a part of their day to studying these laws. An example of such studies can be found on the Darche Noam web site.
We wish our readers a joyful and restful Shabbat, a time of reconnection with friends, family and the Almighty.