24 May 2016
From this week’s Torah portion, Behar: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for Mine is the land; for you are merely residents with Me” (Lev. 25:23).
The subsequent commandment to let the land lay fallow every seven years underscores the notion that we are merely custodians of God’s land. We are obligated to take care of His creation, prevent it from deteriorating and prepare for it to be handed down to the next generation. It’s the first environmentally-sensitive legislation!
I know some land-use attorneys who might disagree with the notion set out in this week’s parasha, but there is a very special perspective that is being spelled out. Our “ownership” is limited to the time we have on Earth, and being attuned to the importance of leaving a legacy is critical to our ability to continue to live on beyond our lifetimes.
What will our children and grandchildren remember about us – our possessions, our land? Not likely. Rather, they will recall our personal values, the way we treated those around us and the choices we made to better ourselves. It is our family and our community that live on long after our time on earth. So it is with the choices made by so many who preceded us to leave philanthropic legacies with Federation, agencies, organizations and synagogues. These philanthropic legacies directly benefit us and hopefully inspire us to do the same for others. Learn how you can leave a legacy to impact the next generation.