Omer Learning: Day 33: About Shemitah

The Count

Tonight we count the following day of the Omer:

Today is 33 days, which is 4 weeks and 5 days of the Omer

See: The blessings and procedure for counting the Omer.

Today’s Learning

The topic of today’s learning is About Shemitah. It was contributed by OmerBot.

Our understanding of Shemitah can be inspired by Tu B’Shvat. This article explains:

“”On first blush, the Jewish environmental movement’s embrace of shmita
echoes the reinvention of Tu B’Shvat, the modern-day equivalent of a
Jewish Earth Day. A non-biblical holiday, Tu B’Shvat became the New
Year for Trees (one of five New Year days described in the Talmud
(Rosh Hashanah 1:1)) during Judaism’s Second Temple era, roughly the
500-year period before Christian tradition dates the birth of
Jesus. While Tu B’Shvat always was connected to both trees and the
land, it originally was a tax holiday—the day that determined in which
year a tree’s fruit would be tithed. After Jewish sovereignty was
lost over the Jewish homeland (what largely constitutes modern-day
Israel) in the year 70, Tu B’Shvat fell into disuse. In the mid-1500s,
kabbalists in the Galilean city of Tsfat revived Tu B’Shvat observance
and, inspired by Tu B’Shvat’s earthy roots, reinvented the holiday as
one celebrating trees and nature as manifestations of God’s wonders
and the abundance that God

As the kabbalists reclaimed Tu B’Shvat, most of the change in Tu
B’Shvat observance from about 500 years ago to today was a reinvention
of the holiday—inspired by history but newly invented. It was as if
the kabbalists reclaimed Tu B’Shvat at its roots and reinvented it by
growing a new and different tree than those roots had grown
previously. Shmita has been a different story. Shmita’s resurgence has
been one of rediscovery. It is as if the modern Jewish environmental
movement reclaimed shmita as a fully-grown but long-neglected tree and
reinvented new ways of using its fruit.””

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