This Shabbos is the last Shabbat of the Jewish calendar year. It is called Shabbos Selichot because on Saturday night we begin to say special supplications called Selichot, (which means forgiveness) beseeching G-d to bless the New Year that it should truly be a good year.
The upcoming year is a special year, it is a Sabbatical year. There are various laws in the Torah regarding the Sabbatical year. One of them is that in Israel one is not allowed to work the fields. Although we live out of Israel and are anyway not farmers, yet, nevertheless each commandment of the Torah has a spiritual counterpart that even if we can’t keep the physical commandment, we should still keep the spiritual commandment.
The spiritual component is that just as on Shabbat by refraining from work we are able to spend more times on spirituality (ie. pray and Torah study) so to the year of shmitah is a year where there is more potential for the spiritual- A year of Shabbat.
I challenge you to prepare yourself and decide how your year of Shmitah will be and how will you incorporate this special year into your life!
Best wishes for a Shana Tova Umesukah! (A happy and sweet new year).
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.