Behar – 2016 May 26 / 18 Iyyar, 5776

This week’s parasha has a description of the ancient Sabbatical Year, in Hebrew “Shabbat Shabbaton”. (Lev 25: 4)  This year of rest for the land every seventh year, when no produce was to be grown, is called Smittah in later biblical passages.  Recently, our Leadership Council announced that I will take a Sabbatical next year—a time to renew my skills and knowledge base as a rabbi, to come back with fresh ideas and scholarship and new experiences to share with you when I return.  The idea of this break for renewal and study for professionals was borrowed from the Torah concept.  Beth Hillel has been very generous in allowing me a Sabbatical every seventh year since 1996, my 11th year of service to the congregation.  I am now developing my plans for how I will spend my time between October 25, 2016 and Jan 24, 2017, the first half of my 6 month Sabbatical.  I assure you that I will devote the time to bringing back new ideas and learning to Beth Hillel to better serve you as rabbi.  Just as the land lay fallow in ancient times and was therefore more productive when worked the following year, so do I hope to come back re-energized to help make Beth Hillel stronger when I return.  Thank you for this opportunity.