Sh’mitah (“Release”) Source Texts


Exodus 23:10 – 12


 וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים, תִּזְרַע אֶת-אַרְצֶךָ; וְאָסַפְתָּ, אֶת-תְּבוּאָתָהּ. 10 And for six years, put seeds into your land, and gather up the things that come out of it (harvest the crops),
יא  וְהַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּשְׁמְטֶנָּה וּנְטַשְׁתָּהּ, וְאָכְלוּ אֶבְיֹנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְיִתְרָם, תֹּאכַל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה; כֵּן-תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכַרְמְךָ, לְזֵיתֶךָ. 11 but in the seventh year you should release it, and let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor ones from your people will eat, and the wild animals will eat their leftovers. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
יב  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂיךָ, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת–לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ, שׁוֹרְךָ וַחֲמֹרֶךָ, וְיִנָּפֵשׁ בֶּן-אֲמָתְךָ, וְהַגֵּר. 12 Six days do the things you do. But in the seventh day, stop, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the outsider, can take a deep breath.


Leviticus 25: 1-4, 6-7

א  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר. Adonai said to Moshe at Mount Sinai:
ב  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם–וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ, שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה. “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you come into the land I am giving you, the land itself must keep a Shabbat to Adonai.
ג  שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ, וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְמֹר כַּרְמֶךָ; וְאָסַפְתָּ, אֶת-תְּבוּאָתָהּ. 3 Six years put seeds into your field, and for six years prune your vineyard and up the things that come out of it (harvest the crops).
ד  וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת, שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ–שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה:  שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע, וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר. 4 But in the seventh year, the land must have a Shabbat of complete rest,  a Shabbat for Adonai. Do not sow your field or prune your vineyard.
ו  וְהָיְתָה שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ לָכֶם, לְאָכְלָה–לְךָ, וּלְעַבְדְּךָ וְלַאֲמָתֶךָ; וְלִשְׂכִירְךָ, וּלְתוֹשָׁבְךָ, הַגָּרִים, עִמָּךְ. 6 But whatever the land grows during the Shabbat year is for you, to eat – for you, and for your servant and for your maidservant, and for your hired worker and the visitor who lives with you,
ז  וְלִבְהֶמְתְּךָ–וְלַחַיָּה, אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצֶךָ:  תִּהְיֶה כָל-תְּבוּאָתָהּ, לֶאֱכֹל.  {ס} 7 and for your cattle, and for the animals  that are in your land – all the things the land grows, are to eat. {S}

Deuteronomy 15:1-11


א  מִקֵּץ שֶׁבַע-שָׁנִים, תַּעֲשֶׂה שְׁמִטָּה. 1 At the end of every seven years you shall make a release.
ב  וְזֶה, דְּבַר הַשְּׁמִטָּה–שָׁמוֹט כָּל-בַּעַל מַשֵּׁה יָדוֹ, אֲשֶׁר יַשֶּׁה בְּרֵעֵהוּ:  לֹא-יִגֹּשׂ אֶת-רֵעֵהוּ וְאֶת-אָחִיו, כִּי-קָרָא שְׁמִטָּה לַיהוָה. 2 Now this is how to do the release: everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelite. They must not demand payment from his neighbor or his relative, because Adonai’s release has been proclaimed.
ג  אֶת-הַנָּכְרִי, תִּגֹּשׂ; וַאֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֶת-אָחִיךָ, תַּשְׁמֵט יָדֶךָ. 3 From a foreigner you may demand payment, but whatever your fellow Israelite owed you, you must release.
ד  אֶפֶס, כִּי לֹא יִהְיֶה-בְּךָ אֶבְיוֹן:  כִּי-בָרֵךְ יְבָרֶכְךָ, יְהוָה, בָּאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן-לְךָ נַחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ. 4 There will be no poor among you, however, for Adonai will certainly bless you in the land which Adonai your God is giving to you to possess as an inheritance.
ה  רַק אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת-כָּל-הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם. 5 if only you surely obey the voice of Adonai your God, to carefully do all of this commandment that I command you today.
ו  כִּי-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בֵּרַכְךָ, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-לָךְ; וְהַעֲבַטְתָּ גּוֹיִם רַבִּים, וְאַתָּה לֹא תַעֲבֹט, וּמָשַׁלְתָּ בְּגוֹיִם רַבִּים, וּבְךָ לֹא יִמְשֹׁלוּ.  {ס} 6 For Adonai your God will bless you, as God promised you; and you will lend money to many nations but you will not borrow, and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. {S}
ז  כִּי-יִהְיֶה בְךָ אֶבְיוֹן מֵאַחַד אַחֶיךָ, בְּאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ, בְּאַרְצְךָ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ–לֹא תְאַמֵּץ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ, וְלֹא תִקְפֹּץ אֶת-יָדְךָ, מֵאָחִיךָ, הָאֶבְיוֹן. 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns in your land that Adonai your God is giving to you, do not harden your heart, and do not shut your hand, against your poor brother (neighbor);
ח  כִּי-פָתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת-יָדְךָ, לוֹ; וְהַעֲבֵט, תַּעֲבִיטֶנּוּ, דֵּי מַחְסֹרוֹ, אֲשֶׁר יֶחְסַר לוֹ. 8 instead, open your hand wide (be generous) to him, and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.
ט  הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-יִהְיֶה דָבָר עִם-לְבָבְךָ בְלִיַּעַל לֵאמֹר, קָרְבָה שְׁנַת-הַשֶּׁבַע שְׁנַת הַשְּׁמִטָּה, וְרָעָה עֵינְךָ בְּאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן, וְלֹא תִתֵּן לוֹ; וְקָרָא עָלֶיךָ אֶל-יְהוָה, וְהָיָה בְךָ חֵטְא. 9 Be careful not to keep a wicked thought in your heart: “The seventh year, the year of release, is near;” so that your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cries out to Adonai against you, and there will be guilt inside of you (sin: offending God; doing something God said not to do).
י  נָתוֹן תִּתֵּן לוֹ, וְלֹא-יֵרַע לְבָבְךָ בְּתִתְּךָ לוֹ:  כִּי בִּגְלַל הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-מַעֲשֶׂךָ, וּבְכֹל מִשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ. 10 Absolutely give to him, and your heart should not be grudging when you give to him, because for this Adonai your God will bless you in all your work, and in everything you do.
יא  כִּי לֹא-יֶחְדַּל אֶבְיוֹן, מִקֶּרֶב הָאָרֶץ; עַל-כֵּן אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ, לֵאמֹר, פָּתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת-יָדְךָ לְאָחִיךָ לַעֲנִיֶּךָ וּלְאֶבְיֹנְךָ, בְּאַרְצֶךָ.  {ס} 11 For there will never stop being poor people in the land. Therefore I command you: “Open your hand wide (be generous) to your fellow Israelites, to the needy and the poor in your land.” {S}


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