Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Re'eh - 5774
AN EDUCATION IN YERUSHALAYIM
Ma’aser Sheni is a Torah obligation to set aside one tenth of agricultural produce from the first, second, fourth and fifth years of each seven year Shmita cycle, for the function of taking it to Yerushalayim and consuming it there.
This mitzvah helps to establish the centrality of Yerushalayim in Jewish life. In addition, food at times could bring out the worst behaviour in human beings. I feel badly for the young lady waiting tables in a restaurant when a customer is served the wrong cut of meat.
The Torah guides a person to live all aspects of his life for the sake of heaven, including the consumption of food. Thus, the Jew is commanded to set aside a portion of his produce and eat it in Yerushalayim - an environment of spirituality - such that he can learn that even the most physical act must be done within the guidelines of the Torah.