Yovel Text Study: Betach (Security)

Imagine the time leading up to the sh’mita year in the ancient world. In an agricultural society, people no doubt would have been anxious: what would they eat while the land rested? Would the previous season’s crop suffice for an extra year? And before the yovel year, the anxiety must have been doubled, as the produce of the forty-eighth year would have to last for two extra years! This passage in Leviticus acknowledges this fear, and also frames the yovel year as a time to cultivate a sense of security not based on material possessions.