A Sabbath for the Land

As we move through the Autumn season, passing through Sukkot, we enter a time of peace, dormancy & restoration for the land. All of life it seems has a rhythm of pulsing outward with energy, and back again in repose. The Torah tells us of a great Utopian plan, of a sabbath for the land every seven years.


"But the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. Your field you shall not sow, and your vineyard you shall not prune." Lev 25: 4.

The earth was seen as a living entity, the source of our blessings of plenty. In those ancient times, we were required to give rest to our slaves, to our animals, and to the land, all of whom worked for us. The "dominion over the earth" mentioned in Genesis 1:26 includes the responsibility to nourish and respect the land, requiring a rest every seven years. We were allowed to eat of the harvest that ripened and fell of its own accord, but we were not to plant nor reap, not to demand anything from the Earth for that year.

This new painting shows the land in its Sabbath year, with its natural produce of figs and olives, grapes and pomegranates, with the little foxes and hinds and turtledoves described in the Song of Songs. It is an image of calm and peace, and a reminder of how we must care for the Earth that cares so well for us.