Project Genesis

Mitzvos (Commandments)

Terumah, Ma'aser, Shmittah and Yovel, Kilayim

Punishment for Neglect of the Sabbatical Year

Question: At any time in Biblical history did the Jewish people neglect the sabbatical years and have judgment laid on them for this? If so, could you cite the verses where this can be found?

Answer: When Rashi (Leviticus 26:35) points out that the seventy years of Babylonian exile were in response to failure to keep the Sabbatical year, he adds that this means that there were seventy Sabbatical years that weren’t properly observed. Now, that’s a minimum of 490 years of prior history, one every seven years. I would assume that he means that in their entire history, from coming into the land until the destruction of the First Temple, there were 70 Sabbatical years that were not kept properly. The final punishment for all of them was the exile to Babylon.

Best wishes,
Michoel Reach

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