The Sabbatical year – a year rich with change. Farmers who worked tirelessly on their fields, do not touch their land. Debts that are owed are cancelled. Slaves are freed and showered with gifts.

It would be easy for the vacationing farmers to claim that it’s their year off. A year off means a year off from giving charity too. After all, it's a year when they're not earning.

But the Torah teaches otherwise, and warns us against this kind of thinking. Even during a difficult financial period such as the Sabbatical year, a Jew must still give charity.

‘...you should not harden your heart nor shut you hand from your poor …' (Deuteronomy 15:7)

There is never a time to forget about the poor.

It’s easy to excuse ourselves from helping others during difficult times, but on the contrary, it is exactly these times where so many people need the help!

This is a relevant message for us today as we go through huge financial and economical challenges. It's a struggle for so many people. But this is a stark reminder that although of course we need to protect ourselves, at the same time we must not to forget those who are worse off.

Hard times should not turn cause us to harden our hearts.