Yom Kippur Creative Interlude (Shmita)

Zoom Yom Kippur Creative Interlude – Shmita: The Possibilities of Transformation 5781

Monday, September 28, 2020

2:00-3:30 p.m.

Join Berith Sholom congregant Audrey Seidman for a Yom Kippur Creative Interlude to explore if and how elements of Shmita–lying fallow, forgiving loans–showed up in your life over the last six months.

When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a Sabbath of the Lord. Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. But in the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath of complete rest…. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your untrimmed vines; it shall be a year of complete rest for the land (Lev. 25:4-5)

The Hebrew Year 5780 (2019-2020) shocked our individual and communal systems as a global pandemic swept over the earth and changed our lives.

While the consequences have been largely devastating, some have described how the resulting social and physical restrictions introduced a new sense of rest, relational closeness, re-evaluation and re-ordering of priorities into their lives. This sense of “lying fallow” can remind us of the Hebrew Shmita year, the Sabbatical year for the land that includes broader concepts of economic equity, including the forgiveness of debts.

While on a practical level, Shmita is required only in the land of Israel, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, in his upcoming book Dancing in God’s Earthquake, offers us much to consider: “Shmita is the Torah’s effort to teach us a path of practical peace in the human community and between the Earth and human earthlings. Transforming even a pastoral/agricultural society for just a year was not so easy. How could we translate that pattern into our lives today, much more intricately intertwined?”

Additionally, we will begin to consider, individually and communally, how we might use the Shmita year that begins Sept. 6, 2021, with kavanah (intention) to recharge our lives, revitalize our congregation(s) and communities, care for the earth and promote economic equity.

There will be an optional opportunity to continue this as a study/action group over the next year with resources and Zoom conversations with Arthur Waskow and other guides as we prepare for this journey.