Houses, fields and vineyards will be bought in Israel

In Parshat Behar (VaYikra 25:25-28) we read:

If your brother becomes impoverished and sells some of his ancestral land, and a close relative comes and redeems that which his brother had sold. Or if the man has no redeemer (close relative) but has acquired sufficient means and finds it enough to redeem it himself, he shall calculate the number of years for which he sold the land and return the remainder (excess) to the man to whom he had sold it, and he shall return to his ancestral land. Or if he does not have within his means enough to retrieve the land, then that which he sold remains in the possession of the buyer until Yovel (the jubilee year). It is then released by the Yovel and he (the seller) returns to his ancestral land.

The Land of Israel was divided into ancestral tribes by tribe and by family and each plot was to remain within the family. Even if a person had to sell his plot due to financial hardship, the land would still revert back to him in the Yovel (fiftieth year). If he found enough money to buy it back or if a relative could afford to buy it back then they were encouraged to do so. This process is called “geula”, redemption of the property.

The Haftara from Yirmiyahu 32:6-27, tells us God’s message of hope to Yirmiyahu, a year before the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash. Jerusalem was under Babylonian siege and Yirmiyahu was in prison for his prophesies that told B’nai Yisrael to repent or else they would end up losing the Beit HaMikdash and go to exile.

Even though all hope seemed lost, God tells Yishayahu to redeem a family property (Yirmiyahu 32:6-9):

Yirmiyahu said: The word of God came to me saying “Behold! Hanamel, son of Shulam your uncle is coming to you to say: ‘Buy for yourself my field that is in Anatot, for the right of redemption is yours.’”

Hanamel, my cousin, came to me as God had spoken, to the courtyard of the prison, and he said to me, “Buy for yourself my field in Anatot that is in the territory of Binyamin, for yours is the right of inheritance and yours is the redemption; buy it for yourself.” And I knew that it was the word of God. So I bought the field…

As the city of Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, the market value for the field was pretty low. Hanamel didn’t even have access to the property due to the siege. However, Yirmiyahu bought the property to observe the mitzvah of “geula” (redeeming property) commanded in Vayikra which was still being observed (we also see that the mitzvah observed in Megillat Rut).

Yirmiyahu also bought the field for the symbolic reason of showing faith in the future, that B’nai Yisrael would return to their homeland. As it says in sentence 15: “For so said God, Master of Legions, God of Israel: ‘Houses, fields and vineyards will yet be bought in the land.’”

Indeed, B’nai Yisrael did return to the Land of Israel after seventy years of exile and again built up the land and built the second Beit HaMikdash. And even after they were exiled once again, the Jewish people did not despair. They dreamed of returning to the land, to rebuild it once again. And here we are, back in the Land of Israel with vineyards and wineries, olive groves and factories, fields and houses.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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