The Year of Freedom

Individuals experience redemption on individual levels, but when Messiah comes, "all Israel will be saved."

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Behar

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Behar (בהר | On the mountain)
  • Torah: Leviticus 25:1-26:2
  • Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
  • Gospel: Luke 4:14-22

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Leviticus 25:1 | The Sabbatical Year
    • Leviticus 25:8 | The Year of Jubilee
    • Leviticus 26:1 | Rewards for Obedience
  • Prophets
    • Jer 32:1 | Jeremiah Buys a Field During the Siege
    • Jer 32:16 | Jeremiah Prays for Understanding
    • Jer 32:26 | God's Assurance of the People's Return

Portion Summary

The thirty-second reading from the Torah and second-to-last reading from the book of Leviticus is called Behar (בהר), which means "On the Mountain." The name comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which could be literally translated to read, "The LORD then spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai" (Leviticus 25:1). This portion from the Torah introduces the laws of the sabbatical years, the jubilee and laws concerning redemption. In most years, synagogues read Behar together with the following portion, Bechukotai.


The year of Jubilee is the year of freedom. According to the Torah, a Hebrew slave could only be enslaved for six years. Exodus 21:2 says, “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.” Even if the Hebrew slave had not served his six years when the Jubilee arrived, his term of service ended and he went free.

This illustrates the difference between the personal salvation of the individual and the national salvation of Israel. Throughout the course of time, individuals experience redemption on individual levels, but when Messiah comes, “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

The Torah uses a particular term for national salvation. The Hebrew word deror (דרור) seems to mean “free flowing” or “running.” The Bible uses it to describe the freedom and release that comes in the Jubilee:

You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release (deror, דרור) through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. (Leviticus 25:10)

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet rebuked Israel for failing to keep the law of releasing the Hebrew slave in the seventh year. King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people of Jerusalem to proclaim release (deror) for all of their Hebrew slaves. When the people reneged on the obligation to release their slaves, Jeremiah declared the following:

Therefore thus says the LORD, “You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release (deror) each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release (deror) to you,” declares the LORD, “to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Jeremiah 34:17)

The same Hebrew word appears in Isaiah 61 in reference to the mission of the Messiah:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty (deror) to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD. (Isaiah 61:1-2)

Yeshua read this passage from Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue and applied it to Himself, saying, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). He identified Himself as the one anointed with the Spirit of the LORD and His mission of proclaiming the year of the LORD’S favor. This does not imply that the particular year Yeshua read the passage in the Nazareth synagogue was the Jubilee. Instead, the Master alluded to the prophetic significance of the Jubilee, namely, the final redemption and the dawning of the Messianic Era. Yeshua offered His generation the freedom of the final redemption and the kingdom of heaven if they would repent.

The generation did not, and we still wait for the final redemption. Nevertheless, the Master’s death and resurrection accomplished the redemption of our souls. If a person will repent and turn to the LORD for the forgiveness of sins in Yeshua’s name, he can enter into the spiritual Jubilee today. The Redeemer has already paid the price for the ransom, and He extends His hand to lift us up out of the miry pit. The doors of redemption stand open before us even now.

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