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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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Neither Oppress nor Allow Others to Oppress You

Neither Oppress nor Allow Others to Oppress You

Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25:1–26:2)

(p.174) Thirty-Two Neither Oppress nor Allow Others to Oppress You
Torah Queeries

Jacob J. Staub

NYU Press

This chapter presents a reading of Parashat Behar of Leviticus to challenge the notion of hierarchy. The first chapter of the text contains regulations in the Torah about land tenure and the rights of landowners to sell or mortgage their land. It notes in the law of Shemitah (the sabbatical year), that the land should have a Sabbath, wherein no sowing, reaping, or pruning is permitted, and poor people are given exclusive access to the growth of the land. By giving priviledge to the poor, the practice acknowledges the existence of economic oppression, and questions all social and economic distinctions. In this context, the Shemitah also critiques the unfair economic and social status quo of queers.

Keywords:   Parashat Behar, Leviticus, hierarchy, Shemitah, queers, social status

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