Dvar for Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)
Parshat Behar discusses a scenario where a person has to sell their home for financial reasons. The Parsha differentiates between the sale of a home 1) in a walled city, which is deemed a permanent sale (25:30), 2) in a city without a wall which reverts back to its original owner at Yovel (Jubilee) (25:31), and 3) an open field which cannot be sold (25:34). Why does it matter where the home is located, why can’t one sell a field? Furthermore, why does a home in a wall-less city revert back to its original owner?
Chizkuni and other commentaries explain that fields provide agricultural benefits and a means to sustain a family, which is why fields cannot be sold. Homes in walled cities, however, are simply dwellings and do not provide sustenance, which is why a sale of such property is deemed permanent. However, a home in a wall-less city could go either way: It could be developed as a source of income, or it could remain as a basic dwelling. Therefore, the Torah gives the seller their property back at Yovel, giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they will utilize their home to its fullest potential and extract its resources to live. The Torah is guiding us in two distinct ways: 1) Don’t take away a family’s ability to provide for themselves, and 2) Give people the benefit of the doubt that they will do what’s best for them, their family and their land.