Behar/Bechukotai | בהר/בחקותי | “On the mountain/In my statutes “

Parashah 32: B’har (On Mount) 25:1–26:2

[In regular years read with Parashah 33, in leap years read separately]

Adonai spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai; he said, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When you enter the land I am giving you, the land itself is to observe a Shabbat rest for Adonai. Six years you will sow your field; six years you will prune your grapevines and gather their produce. But in the seventh year is to be a Shabbat of complete rest for the land, a Shabbat for Adonai; you will neither sow your field nor prune your grapevines. You are not to harvest what grows by itself from the seeds left by your previous harvest, and you are not to gather the grapes of your untended vine; it is to be a year of complete rest for the land. But what the land produces during the year of Shabbat will be food for all of you — you, your servant, your maid, your employee, anyone living near you, your livestock and the wild animals on your land; everything the land produces may be used for food.

“‘You are to count seven Shabbats of years, seven times seven years, that is, forty-nine years. Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom-Kippur, you are to sound a blast on the shofar; you are to sound the shofar all through your land; 10 and you are to consecrate the fiftieth year, proclaiming freedom throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a yovel for you; you will return everyone to the land he owns, and everyone is to return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year will be a yovel for you; in that year you are not to sow, harvest what grows by itself or gather the grapes of untended vines; 12 because it is a yovel. It will be holy for you; whatever the fields produce will be food for all of you. 13 In this year of yovel, every one of you is to return to the land he owns.

(LY: ii) 14 “‘If you sell anything to your neighbor or buy anything from him, neither of you is to exploit the other. 15 Rather, you are to take into account the number of years after the yovel when you buy land from your neighbor, and he is to sell to you according to the number of years crops will be raised. 16 If the number of years remaining is large, you will raise the price; if few years remain, you will lower it; because what he is really selling you is the number of crops to be produced. 17 Thus you are not to take advantage of each other, but you are to fear your God; for I am Adonai your God.

18 “‘Rather, you are to keep my regulations and rulings and act accordingly. If you do, you will live securely in the land. (RY: ii, LY: iii) 19 The land will yield its produce, you will eat until you have enough, and you will live there securely.

20 “‘If you ask, “If we aren’t allowed to sow seed or harvest what our land produces, what are we going to eat the seventh year?” 21 then I will order my blessing on you during the sixth year, so that the land brings forth enough produce for all three years. 22 The eighth year you will sow seed but eat the the old, stored produce until the ninth year; that is, until the produce of the eighth year comes in, you will eat the old, stored food.

23 “‘The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me — you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me. 24 Therefore, when you sell your property, you must include the right of redemption. (LY: iv) 25 That is, if one of you becomes poor and sells some of his property, his next-of-kin can come and buy back what his relative sold. 26 If the seller has no one to redeem it but becomes rich enough to redeem it himself, 27 he will calculate the number of years the land was sold for, refund the excess to its buyer, and return to his property. 28 If he hasn’t sufficient means to get it back himself, then what he sold will remain in the hands of the buyer until the year of yovel; in the yovel the buyer will vacate it and the seller return to his property.

(RY: iii, LY: v) 29 “‘If someone sells a dwelling in a walled city, he has one year after the date of sale in which to redeem it. For a full year he will have the right of redemption; 30 but if he has not redeemed the dwelling in the walled city within the year, then title in perpetuity passes to the buyer through all his generations; it will not revert in the yovel. 31 However, houses in villages not surrounded by walls are to be dealt with like the fields in the countryside — they may be redeemed [before the yovel], and they revert in the yovel.

32 “‘Concerning the cities of the L’vi’im and the houses in the cities they possess, the L’vi’im are to have a permanent right of redemption. 33 If someone purchases a house from one of the L’vi’im, then the house he sold in the city where he owns property will still revert to him in the yovel; because the houses in the cities of the L’vi’im are their tribe’s possession among the people of Isra’el. 34 The fields in the open land around their cities may not be sold, because that is their permanent possession.

35 “‘If a member of your people has become poor, so that he can’t support himself among you, you are to assist him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident, so that he can continue living with you. 36 Do not charge him interest or otherwise profit from him, but fear your God, so that your brother can continue living with you. 37 Do not take interest when you loan him money or take a profit when you sell him food. 38 I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to give you the land of Kena‘an and be your God.

(RY: iv, LY: vi) 39 “‘If a member of your people has become poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him do the work of a slave. 40 Rather, you are to treat him like an employee or a tenant; he will work for you until the year of yovel. 41 Then he will leave you, he and his children with him, and return to his own family and regain possession of his ancestral land. 42 For they are my slaves, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; therefore they are not to be sold as slaves. 43 Do not treat him harshly, but fear your God.

44 “‘Concerning the men and women you may have as slaves: you are to buy men- and women-slaves from the nations surrounding you. 45 You may also buy the children of foreigners living with you and members of their families born in your land; you may own these. 46 You may also bequeath them to your children to own; from these groups you may take your slaves forever. But as far as your brothers the people of Isra’el are concerned, you are not to treat each other harshly.

(LY: vii) 47 “‘If a foreigner living with you has grown rich, and a member of your people has become poor and sells himself to this foreigner living with you or to a member of the foreigner’s family, 48 he may be redeemed after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him; 49 or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or any near relative of his may redeem him; or, if he becomes rich, he may redeem himself. 50 He will calculate with the person who bought him the time from the year he sold himself to him to the year of yovel; and the amount to be paid will be according to the number of years and his time at an employee’s wage. 51 If many years remain, according to them will he refund the amount for his redemption from the amount he was bought for. 52 If there remain only a few years until the year of yovel, then he will calculate with him; according to his years will he refund the amount for his redemption. 53 He will be like a worker hired year by year. You will see to it that he is not treated harshly.

54 “‘If he has not been redeemed by any of these procedures, nevertheless he will go free in the year of yovel — he and his children with him. (LY: Maftir) 55 For to me the people of Isra’el are slaves; they are my slaves whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.

26 “‘You are not to make yourselves any idols, erect a carved statue or a standing-stone, or place any carved stone anywhere in your land in order to bow down to it. I am Adonai your God.

“‘Keep my Shabbats, and revere my sanctuary; I am Adonai.

Haftarah B’har: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 32:6–27

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah B’har: Luke 4:16–21; 1 Corinthians 7:21–24; Galatians 6:7–10

Parashah 33: B’chukkotai (By my regulations) 26:3–27:34

[In regular years read with Parashah 32, in leap years read separately]

“‘If you live by my regulations, observe my mitzvot and obey them; then I will provide the rain you need in its season, the land will yield its produce, and the trees in the field will yield their fruit. Your threshing time will extend until the grape harvest, and your grape harvesting will extend until the time for sowing seed. You will eat as much food as you want and live securely in your land.

(LY: ii) “‘I will give shalom in the land — you will lie down to sleep unafraid of anyone. I will rid the land of wild animals. The sword will not go through your land. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall before your sword. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand — your enemies will fall before your sword.

“‘I will turn toward you, make you productive, increase your numbers and uphold my covenant with you. (RY: v, LY: iii) 10 You will eat all you want from last year’s harvest and throw out what remains of the old to make room for the new. 11 I will put my tabernacle among you, and I will not reject you, 12 but I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves. I have broken the bars of your yoke, so that you can walk upright.

14 “‘But if you will not listen to me and obey all these mitzvot, 15 if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant; 16 then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you — wasting disease and chronic fever to dim your sight and sap your strength. You will sow your seed for nothing, because your enemies will eat the crops. 17 I will set my face against you — your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.

18 If these things don’t make you listen to me, then I will discipline you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break the pride you have in your own power. I will make your sky like iron, your soil like bronze — 20 you will spend your strength in vain, because the land will not yield its produce or the trees in the field their fruit.

21 “‘Yes, if you go against me and don’t listen to me, I will increase your calamities sevenfold, according to your sins. 22 I will send wild animals among you; they will rob you of your children, destroy your livestock and reduce your numbers, until your roads are deserted.

23 “‘If, in spite of all this, you refuse my correction and still go against me; 24 then I too will go against you; and I, yes I, will strike you seven times over for your sins. 25 I will bring a sword against you which will execute the vengeance of the covenant. You will be huddled inside your cities, I will send sickness among you, and you will be handed over to the power of the enemy. 26 I will cut off your supply of bread, so that ten women will bake your bread in one oven and dole out your bread by weight, and you will eat but not be satisfied.

27 “‘And if, for all this, you still will not listen to me, but go against me; 28 then I will go against you furiously, and I also will chastise you yet seven times more for your sins. 29 You will eat the flesh of your own sons, you will eat the flesh of your own daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your pillars for sun-worship, and throw your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols; and I will detest you. 31 I will lay waste to your cities and make your sanctuaries desolate, so as not to smell your fragrant aromas. 32 I will desolate the land, so that your enemies living in it will be astounded by it. 33 You I will disperse among the nations, and I will draw out the sword in pursuit after you; your land will be a desolation and your cities a wasteland. 34 Then, at last, the land will be paid its Shabbats. As long as it lies desolate and you are in the lands of your enemies, the land will rest and be repaid its Shabbats. 35 Yes, as long as it lies desolate it will have rest, the rest it did not have during your Shabbats, when you lived there. 36 As for those of you who are left, I will fill their hearts with anxiety in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf will frighten them, so that they will flee as one flees from the sword and fall when no one is pursuing. 37 Yes, with no one pursuing they will stumble over each other as if fleeing the sword — you will have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And among the nations you will perish; the land of your enemies will devour you.

39 Those of you who remain will pine away in the lands of your enemies from guilt over your misdeeds and those of your ancestors. 40 Then they will confess their misdeeds and those of their ancestors which they committed against me in their rebellion; they will admit that they went against me. 41 At that time I will be going against them, bringing them into the lands of their enemies. But if their uncircumcised hearts will grow humble, and they are paid the punishment for their misdeeds; 42 then I will remember my covenant with Ya‘akov, also my covenant with Yitz’chak and my covenant with Avraham; and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will lie abandoned without them, and it will be paid its Shabbats while it lies desolate without them; and they will be paid the punishment for their misdeeds, because they rejected my rulings and loathed my regulations. 44 Yet, in spite of all that, I will not reject them when they are in the lands of their enemies, nor will I loathe them to the point of utterly destroying them and thus break my covenant with them, because I am Adonai their God. 45 Rather, for their sakes, I will remember the covenant of their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt — with the nations watching — so that I might be their God; I am Adonai.’”

46 These are the laws, rulings and teachings that Adonai himself gave to the people of Isra’el on Mount Sinai through Moshe.

27 (RY: vi; LY: iv) Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘If someone makes a clearly defined vow to Adonai to give him an amount equal to the value of a human being, the value you are to assign to a man between the ages of twenty and sixty years is to be fifty shekels of silver [one-and-a-quarter pounds], with the sanctuary shekel being the standard, if a woman, thirty shekels. If it is a child five to twenty years old, assign a value of twenty shekels for a boy and ten for a girl; if a baby one month to five years of age, five shekels for a boy and three for a girl; if a person past sixty, fifteen shekels for a man and ten for a woman. If the person is too poor to be evaluated, set him before the cohen, who will assign him a value in keeping with the means of the person who made the vow.

“‘If the vow is for the value of an animal of the kind used when people bring an offering to Adonai, all that a person gives of such animals to Adonai will be holy. 10 He is not to exchange or replace it by substituting a good animal for a bad one or vice versa; if he does make such a substitution, both the original animal and the one replacing it will be holy. 11 If the animal is an unclean one, such as may not be used in an offering to Adonai, he must set it before the cohen; 12 and the cohen is to set a value on it in relation to its good and bad points; the value set by you the cohen will stand. 13 But if the person making the vow wishes to redeem the animal, he must add one-fifth to your valuation.

14 “‘When a person consecrates his house to be holy for Adonai, the cohen is to set a value on it in relation to its good and bad points; the value set by the cohen will stand. 15 If the consecrator wishes to redeem his house, he must add one-fifth to the value you have set on it; and it will revert to him.

(RY: vii, LY: v) 16 “‘If a person consecrates to Adonai part of a field belonging to his tribe’s possession, you are to value it according to its production, with five bushels of barley being valued at fifty shekels of silver [one-and-a-quarter pounds]. 17 If he consecrates his field during the year of yovel, this valuation will stand. 18 But if he consecrates his field after the yovel, then the cohen is to calculate the price according to the years remaining till the next yovel, with a corresponding reduction from your valuation. 19 If the one consecrating the field wishes to redeem it, he must add one-fifth to your valuation, and the field will be set aside to revert to him. 20 If the seller does not wish to redeem the field, or if [the treasurer for the cohanim] has already sold the field to someone else, it can no longer be redeemed. 21 But when the purchaser has to vacate the field in the yovel, it will become holy to Adonai, like a field unconditionally consecrated; it will belong to the cohanim.

(LY: vi) 22 “‘If he consecrates to Adonai a field which he has bought, a field which is not part of his tribe’s possession, 23 then the cohen is to calculate its value according to the years remaining until the year of yovel; and the man will on that same day pay this amount; since it is holy to Adonai. 24 In the year of yovel the field will revert to the person from whom it was bought, that is, to the person to whose tribal possession it belongs.

25 “‘All your valuations are to be according to the sanctuary shekel [two-fifths of an ounce], twenty gerahs to the shekel.

26 “‘However, the firstborn among animals, since it is already born as a firstborn for Adonai, no one can consecrate — neither ox nor sheep — since it belongs to Adonai already. 27 But if it is an unclean animal, he may redeem it at the price at which you value it and add one-fifth; or if he does not redeem it, it is to be sold at the price at which you value it. 28 However, nothing consecrated unconditionally which a person may consecrate to Adonai out of all he owns — person, animal or field he possesses — is to be sold or redeemed; because everything consecrated unconditionally is especially holy to Adonai. (LY: vii) 29 No person who has been sentenced to die, and thus unconditionally consecrated, can be redeemed; he must be put to death.

30 “‘All the tenth given from the land, whether from planted seed or fruit from trees, belongs to Adonai; it is holy to Adonai. 31 If someone wants to redeem any of his tenth, he must add to it one-fifth.

(Maftir) 32 “‘All the tenth from the herd or the flock, whatever passes under the shepherd’s crook, the tenth one will be holy to Adonai. 33 The owner is not to inquire whether the animal is good or bad, and he cannot exchange it; if he does exchange it, both it and the one he substituted for it will be holy; it cannot be redeemed.’”

34 These are the mitzvot which Adonai gave to Moshe for the people of Isra’el on Mount Sinai.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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