By: Chana Lieberman (10th Grade)
In this weeks Parsha it says,
"לֹֽא־תַעֲשׂ֨וּ לָכֶ֜ם אֱלִילִ֗ם" - You Shall not make for yourselves idols
Why is this commandment to refrain from making idols repeated in this week's Parsha;
it seems odd after mentioning Shmita, Yovel, and loans that all seem unrelated?
This law is mentioned here because it is referring to a Jew who sold himself as a slave to a non-Jew. This law is placed here to show that just because his master does inappropriate things with women, does not mean he can. One may think to himself, “Since my master worships idols I can worship them too” or “Since my master doesn’t keep Shabbat I don’t have to keep shabbat either."
This Parsha starts off with Hashem giving over the mitzvah of Shmita. It describes the situation where someone does not keep the mitzvah of Shmita because they do not trust that Hashem will provide for them. Later in the Parshah we see that eventually they will be forced to sell their land.
This is why Hashem put the mitzvah of Yovel in place. On the fiftieth year, this person will get their land back. However, if the person still does not do Teshuva and doesn’t follow the laws of Shmita after getting his land back, he will eventually be forced to sell his land permanently. If he still does not do Teshuva, he will be forced to sell his possessions, then his home and will even have to take a loan with interest. The longer he waits to do Teshuva, the worse his life will become. If he continues in his ways even after getting a loan with interest, he will be so poor he will have to sell himself as a slave to a Jew. Even after selling himself as a slave to a Jew if he still does not do Teshuva, he will find himself having to be sold to a non-Jew as a slave.
This is why the commandment of not making idols is found in the Parsha, because if you do not follow the laws in this Parsha you will find yourself in this predicament of being a slave to a non-Jew.
The lessons within this Parsha are very valuable because it teaches us that everything we do will eventually add up. Whether negative or positive, the actions we do will always affect us. Another important point it teaches us is that no matter how far we are from Hashem, if we do teshuva Hashem will forgive us. We should follow Hashem's ways and try our best to practice forgiveness as well.