Sabbath for the Land

I am grateful to live on land that I have cultivated and harvested – strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower, and cover crops such as rye and clover. Most of the land has lain fallow for many years now. While walking through these fields I am awestruck by the complexity and diversity that the earth brings forth when left to her own devices. In this Shmita Year in particular I am aware of the critical need to remember and fulfill our sacred task of caring for the Earth.

...but in the seventh,
you are to let it go
and to let it be...
What happens when we grant
the Land a Sabbath, relinquish
dominion over the Earth?
… the needy of your people may eat,
              and what they (allow to) remain, 
    	              the wildlife of the field may eat.
When we cease sowing and reaping,      
Release our human desire
For the neatness of edges and rows
   earth sprouts forth
  with sprouting-growth,
plants that seed forth seeds
 after their kind.                            

Trees that yield fruit, 
  	    in which is their seed,
 	                 after their kind.
This is what happens when
We grant a Sabbath to the Land.
We remember…
The Earth does not belong to us.
We belong to the Earth.

©2022Martha Hurwitz

Exodus 23:11 translation by Everett Fox
Picture Credits:
All others by Martha Hurwitz

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