The root of the word shmita means to drop or let go. Besides letting the land go fallow, our tradition has also connected the Shmita year with debt forgiveness, especially for itinerant farmers. Every seven years, all debts are forgiven and obligations released, giving everyone a second chance. As many people grapple with medical debt, student loans and rental or mortgage debt, we can learn a lot from this tradition.
Besides examining our financial debts and the money owed to us, we can also use Shmita as an opportunity to forgive emotional debts. If you didn’t get a chance to do teshuva (repentance) or mechilah (forgiveness) during the High Holidays, this year of Shmita provides a way to let go of feelings that no longer serve us.
We also love celebrating October 31st, Email Debt Forgiveness Day. This holiday, invented by the Reply All podcast, is a chance to eliminate the guilt we might feel about that unsent email. Whether it’s a heartfelt note to a long-lost friend or a postponed letter to a relative, make this the day you forgive those email debts and send your message.
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