Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary and Geula
Take this post as Derush.
January 1st, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, whereby President Lincoln allowed all slaves living in the United States to live as free men, no longer bound by the shackles of their masters.
The year was 1863. The freed slaves were celebrating a Yovel, and they called it such. From the North Dallas Gazzette:
The next day, January 1, 1863, became known as “Jubilee Day” to the newly freed African men, women and children.Vayikra 25:10:
After וקראתם דרור בארץ לכל ישביה - "proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof", we have the phrase יובל הוא three times. This tells us that after the slaves were officially freed, there is a 3-Yovel wait until we reach the Great Yovel.
After the first יובל הוא, it says וְשַׁבְתֶּם אִישׁ אֶל-אֲחֻזָּתוֹ, וְאִישׁ אֶל-מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ תָּשֻׁבוּ "and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family". The Emancipation Proclamation occurred in 1863. Fifty years later is 1913, in the middle of the Second Aliya, but on a grander scale, in the middle of the entire Shivat Tzion - the return to Zion.
After the second יובל הוא, it says לֹא תִזְרָעוּ--וְלֹא תִקְצְרוּ אֶת-סְפִיחֶיהָ, וְלֹא תִבְצְרוּ אֶת-נְזִרֶיהָ "ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines". Fifty years after 1913 is 1963. This was during the 19 years when the Kotel or any part of the Old City of Yerushalayim was not accessible. We were, in a sense, a land that layeth fallow.
After the third יובל הוא, it says קֹדֶשׁ תִּהְיֶה לָכֶם; מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה--תֹּאכְלוּ, אֶת-תְּבוּאָתָהּ "it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field." Fifty years later brings us to 2013 or 5773. We hope that this year would be fit to be called "holy". And as opposed to 50 years ago, when the land layeth fallow, we will be able to eat from the produce of the field. Which field? The field that Yitzhak Avinu went לשוח בשדה - i.e., the Beit Hamikdash.
Finally, בשנת היובל הזאת, in this Yovel, every man will return to his possession. אכי"ר.