Tag Archives: haves and have nots

Cognitive Pearl #071 Iyar 15, 5775 4 May, 15

Be Somebody














During this Jubilee year, you shall return, each man to his property.

From this week’s portion, Behar. VaYikra 25:13

It is human nature that we collect stuff. Bags and bags of stuff, both literal and metaphorical. Books, clothes, tools, identities, debts, hurts, and resentments are just a few that crowd my home and my head. People tell us to ‘let it go’ but that’s hard. Life gets weighted down, almost impossible to navigate. We keep on doing things, not because they’re smart, but simply because of inertia and the deep attachment to symbols of the one truly universal illusion of humanity: the past. 

The Mitzvah Of Jubilee is the antidote to our despair. 

Human societies stratify themselves along the lines of ‘have’ and ‘have not’. Those who have (and you fill in the blanks: land, tenure, money, looks, yichus, job, whatever) get to rule over those who don’t have. Stratifications are quite stable; they’re multigenerational. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. 

This is an arrangement that, despite the few good things that can emerge from it, is terrible for humanity. Human growth requires upheaval. We are all most alive when we are improvising, changing in a dynamic environment. 

The Jubiliee and the social engineering implied by it liberates us. It breaks the economic stranglehold of social class giving the have nots a new chance and the haves peace of mind. Returning to our property is not only about returning to our ancestral land; it’s about returning to our basic selves, that pristine moment before we were kidnapped by social class and indoctrination. In so doing it compels each of us to clean out our lives, to rid ourselves of our baggage, to reclaim the only transcendent truth: we are what we are.

Because who we are is the only property that is truly ours.