On Erev Shabbos, Parshas Emor, Shevach students were treated to an address by Avichai Koch, a Sh’mitah-observant farmer in the south of Israel. Complete with a PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Koch explained how the concept of Emunah is transferred to the reality on the ground (literally) on a Sh’mitah farm. The financial burden of Sh’mitah is significant. That is where miracles are seen on a day-to-day basis. And Avichai and his family have experienced those miracles.

Complicating matters is the fact that the moshav on which Mr. Koch lives is four miles from the Gaza border. He and his family therefore need to be constantly vigilant to protect the farm, which consists of acres of greenhouses and fields. That is not an easy task. The government, with its Iron Dome equipment, is always on the alert for infractions. Here, again, his emunah is called into play. And he is not disappointed.

The Shevach students and staff alike were left with a new appreciation of what it means to be a true maamin, and to live every day with the bitachon that they learn about in the classrooms. Kudos to Mr. Heshy Greenberg, who is his project manager here in the US. He has made it possible for students in a myriad of schools to hear and be inspired by Avichai Koch. It truly was a privilege to hear the story of Avichai Koch, and, by extension, all Sh’mitah-observant farmers in Israel today.