Parshas Behar

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Behar

Chapter 25


1. Hashem spoke with Moshe on Mount Sinai, saying:

2. Speak with the children of Israel and say to them: When you come to the land that I give to you, the land shall release (its produce),[1] a release[2] before Hashem.

3. Six years you shall plant your field and six years you shall prune your vineyard and you shall gather its crop.

4. And in the seventh year it shall be a sabbath of release rest for the land, a release before Hashem. You shall not plant your field and you shall not prune your vineyard.

5. The aftergrowth of your harvest you shall not reap and the grapes of your abandoning[3] you shall not gather. It shall be a year of release for the land.

6. It shall be a release of the land to you for food – for you, and for your servant man, and for your servant woman, and for your hired laborer and for your resident who dwell with you,

7. and for your cattle, and for the wild animals that are in your land, all of its crop will be for food.

8. You shall count for yourself seven release years[4] – seven years seven times. The days of the seven release years will be to you 49 years.

9. You shall sound the shofar sobbing;[5] in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, on the Day of Atonements, you shall sound the shofar throughout your land.

10. You shall sanctify the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: a person shall return to his possession[6] and a person shall return to his family.

11. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: do not plant and do not reap the aftergrowth, and do not harvest the abandoned,

12. because it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you; from the field you shall eat its crop.

13. In this jubilee year each person shall return to his possession.


14. When you sell to your neighbor, or buy from the hand of your neighbor, do not oppress one another.[7]

15. By the number of years after the jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, by the number of years of crops he shall sell it to you.

16. According to the more years you shall increase the purchase (price) and according to the fewer years you shall decrease the purchase (price) because it is the number of crops he sells to you.

17. Do not oppress one another[8] and fear from your God because I am Hashem your God.

18. You shall perform My statutes and observe My laws and perform them, and you will reside on the land in security.

Shlishi (Sheini)

19. The land will give its fruit and you shall eat to satiety, and you will reside in security upon it.

20. And if you ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year? Behold, we may not plant and we may not gather our crop!”

21. I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year and it will make a crop for three years.

22. When you plant in the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop – until the ninth year, until its crop is brought in,[9] you will eat the old.

23. And the land may not be sold irrevocably because the land is Mine, because you are strangers and residents before Me.

24. And in all the land of your possession, you must give redemption for the land.


25. If one your brother becomes poor and sells from his possession, the closest redeemer to him shall come and redeem what his brother sold.

26. And a man who will not have a redeemer and his hand prospers and he acquires[10] sufficient to redeem it,

27. he shall calculate the years from its sale and return the excess to the man it was sold to, and return to his possession.

28. And if his hand doesn’t find enough to repay him, his sale will be[11] in the hand of the one who bought it until the jubilee year. In the jubilee it will go out and he will return to his possession.

Chamishi (Shlishi)

29. And a person who sells a house for dwelling (in a) city surrounded by a wall,[12] its redemption will be until a year has been completed from its sale; its redemption will be from a time to a time.[13]

30. If it is not redeemed until a full year has been filled for him, the house that is in the city that has a wall shall remain permanently to the one who bought it for his generations; it will not go out in the jubilee.

31. And houses in open towns[14] that don’t have walls surrounding around (them) shall be considered as fields of the land; they shall have redemption and they go out in the jubilee.

32. And the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, Levi shall have eternal redemption.

33. That which will be redeemed[15] from the Levites, the purchase – a house or cities[16] of his possession – will go out in the jubilee because the houses of the cities of Levi are their possession among the children of Israel.

34. And a field of the open land of their cities shall not be sold because it is an eternal possession to them.

35. And if your brother becomes poor and his hand falls short with you, you shall support him and he shall dwell, reside[17] and live with you.

36. Do not take interest or usury[18] from him; fear from your God and your brother will live with you.

37. Do not give your money to him on interest, and don’t give your food on usury.

38. I am Hashem your God, Who brought you from the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be God to you.

Shishi (Revii)

39. If your brother becomes poor with you, and is sold to you, do not work him (with) the labor of slaves.[19]

40. Like a hired worker, like a resident, he shall be with you; until the jubilee year he shall work with you.

41. He shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and return to his family, and to the possession of his fathers he will return.

42. Because they are My servants, that I brought them out from the land of Egypt; they may not be sold the sale of slaves.

43. Do not work him[20] harshly; fear from your God.

44. Your servant men and your servant that that will be to you from the nations round that are around you, from them you shall acquire[21] male servants and female servants.

45. And also from the children of the uncircumcised residents[22] who dwell with you, from them you may acquire, and from their families that are with you who were born[23] in your land, they will be a possession to you.

46. You may bequeath[24] them as an inheritance for your children after you to inherit (as) a possession; them you may work. And of your brothers, the children of Israel, a man shall not work his brother harshly.


47. If an uncircumcised resident[25] prospers[26] with you and your brother becomes poor with him and is sold to the uncircumcised resident with you, or to an Aramean of a convert’s family,[27]

48. after he will be sold, he shall have redemption; one of his brothers shall redeem him,

49. or his father’s brother,[28] or his father’s brother’s son shall redeem him, or a close relative from his family shall redeem him, or if he has prospered, he may redeem (himself).

50. He shall calculate with his buyer from the year of his sale to him until the jubilee year. The money of his sale will be in the number of years; like the days of a hired worker it shall be with him.

51. If there are still many years, according to them, he shall repay his redemption from the money of his purchase,

52. and if few years remain until the jubilee year, he shall calculate it. According to his years he shall repay his redemption.

53. As a worker hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not work him harshly in your sight.[29]

54. And if he’s not redeemed in these (ways), he will go out in the jubilee year – he and his children with him.

55. Because the children of Israel are servants of Mine;[30] they are My servants, that I took them out from the land of Egypt. I am Hashem your God.

Chapter 26

1. You shall not make yourselves errors,[31] and you shall not erect for yourselves an image[32] and a pillar, and you shall not place a bowing stone[33] in your land to bow down on it for I am Hashem your God.

2. You shall observe My Sabbath days[34] and revere My Temple;[35] I am Hashem.

[1] Rather than “rest a sabbath.”

[2] Shemittah.

[3] Rather than “separation.”

[4] As opposed to “sabbaths of years.”

[5] Rather than “a shofar blast.”

[6] Referring to his ancestral real estate.

[7] Literally, “a man to his brother.”

[8] Literally, “a man to his neighbor.”

[9] Rather than “comes.”

[10] Literally, “finds.”

[11] i.e., remain.

[12] As opposed to “a walled city.”

[13] Meaning a full year, rather than the Hebrew idiom “days.”

[14] Rather than “villages.”

[15] Rather than “bought.”

[16] Onkelos changes this from singular to plural.

[17] Rather than “a stranger” (i.e., a convert) and a resident (alien).”

[18] According to Rashi, the words used for interest in this verse are essentially synonymous. “Usury” has a more negative connotation than mere interest but English lacks a more appropriate synonym.

[19] Onkelos changes this word from singular to plural.

[20] Rather than “rule over him.”

[21] As opposed to “buy.”

[22] Referring to resident aliens (geirei toshav).

[23] Rather than “that they gave birth to.”

[24] As opposed to “keep.”

[25] Chumash: “resident alien.”

[26] Literally, “gains hand.”

[27] As opposed to “to a branch of a stranger’s family,” or perhaps “to an idol of….”

[28] Rather than “uncle.”

[29] Literally, in your eyes.

[30] Rather than “to Me.”

[31] A euphemism for idols.

[32] Rather than “a graven image.”

[33] Rather than “a paving stone.”

[34] Rather than “My Sabbaths.”

[35] Beis HaMikdash, rather than simply “Mikdash” (generally translated “Sanctuary”).

© Copyright 2021 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz