06 November 2011

Fundamentalist rulers

The enormous control the leadership class can exercise with social engineering these days, the power of present day information technology and the implements of mass persuasion, are too strong to entrust into the hands of fundamentalist rulers who would claim the rights of the clergy and wed them to the prerogatives of the state’s police power. 
Should that clergy's hold be tempered by forcing it every seven years and twice every century to relinquish the centrality of its place in the national project, it wouldn't be such a scary prospect for the rest of the time. 
That is possibly the reason why the yovel begins after Yom haKippurim. The timing denotes the onset of shemitta
Shemitta represents the temporary suspension of clerical supremacy. The priests have just finished purifying the sanctuary, and now they can all also, as it were, go on sabbatical. No tithing during the sabbatical year. The entire nation resembles the priesthood in that no-one during the shnat sheviit has a direct claim on the land. 

Enfranchisement and empowerment

It might be that historically one of the main reasons for the weakness of the shemitta laws was because the leaders of those ancient societies instinctively felt how it weakened their own prerogatives in the public sphere, and so they were disinclined to engineer the necessary institutions to make shemitta work. 
The leaders of ancient societies were disinclined to think through the demands of a proper implementation of the shemitta institution – be they political leaders, economic leaders or spiritual leaders – because the entire shemitta project threatened their own purchases on power in society. 
If that be so, if shemitta were a threat to the regular, institutional leadership of society, then shemitta should be understood as a deeply radical social institution. What that means is that shemitta is quintessentially a grass roots institution designed for the lower classes, and shemitta needs a vigorous grass roots to keep it fresh and wholesome. 
Shemitta and yovel are the grass roots hiatuses during which time the ordinary citizen, the am haaretz, the lower class person, has as much say in the conduct of civic society as does the leadership. It therefore falls to the grass roots to recognize in shemitta the potential for this enfranchisement and empowerment, and to work throughout the six ordinary intervening years to foster a vigorous experience of shemitta and of yovel
Shemitta needs to be administered from the ground up. 

Closet elitists

The conviction that shemitta could be made to work discloses a committment and a confidence in the grass roots. 
Those who say shemitta could never be made to work are at bottom conservatives who believe society can be run only by the economic, political and spiritual elites. A person's predisposition to believing shemitta could or could never be made to work is an unconscious litmus test of the extent to which someone believes in the genius of the common man rather than depending on the rule of the arista for the ordinary conduct of social life. 
If, out of hand, someone rejects the feasibility of shemitta, deep down inside they are elitists, no matter how much they protest a concern for social justice. 

Controlled business cycle

Just as firefighters manage forestry through controlled burns shemitta would perform a similar function for the economy by applying what would amount to a controlled business cycle. 
To say an economy cannot survive a shemitta is to deny that economies do it all the time, only they call them recessions and depressions. The problem with uncontrolled business cycles is: first, they are seen as unwelcome, so that now we are in an era when we are trying to manage the business cycle out of existence, to the detriment of a healthy economic system, not unlike the unhealthy forests that grew out of the wrong-headed notion that forest fires were bad. 
Second, uncontrolled business cycles affect mostly the economic but not the political and spiritual sectors, where they are at least as, if not more important. 
Third, uncontrolled business cycles are uncontrolled and unanticipated so they tend to be more harmful than controlled shemitta would be. 
Fourth, uncontrolled business cycles do not alter the fundamental social relations between elites and subject populations the way a prescribed shemitta would, and so they do not threaten the status quo of power in the society. 
Shemitta functions as a sort of built-in term limits to the entire public social order. Not such a bad idea, on the face of it. 

Frittered away sovereignty

Before we can tackle shemitta, and, indeed, before we can even study shemitta we need to study Leviticus 26, the tokhachah, the chapter that describes the exile and the attitude of the remnants of Israel who are living in exile and trying to come to terms with the failures of the generations that lost the homeland and frittered away its sovereignty. 
The more serious problem for the Jewish people is deep pessimism that masquerades as dark humor but that, in fact, keeps anyone from daring to undertake bold things in and through the halachic world. 
The observant have become cowards, and cowards cannot merit a homeland. Had the Lubavitcher Rebbe really wished to hasten the coming of the Messiah, he would have done better to teach the observant the merits of fortitude. 

Society's ideological base

Shemitta affects not only society's social, political and economic structure, it also affects society's ideological base. 
The same impulse that forces the society to create enough surplus to feed the nation during the sabbatical year also serves to induce the society to build the institutional infra-structure to create that surplus. Along with the abundance of that surplus comes the self-respect for having built the institutional infra-structure, and along with the building of the infra-structure comes the orientation toward the future and the habit of stewardship that makes for a proper creative ideological ground. That ideological ground is what the society needs in order to take care of the land not only during the fallow years but also during the six productive years. 
It's not for nothing the instructions of the Bible focus on environmental stewardship. The spiritual teachings of the Bible incline the people into a comprehensive concordance with the natural order, where the spiritual integrates with the material. 
To implement those teachings requires the people to achieve a proper measure of abundance. When abundance and a concern for the environment work hand in hand they form the basis for a right-minded ideological ground for people to cultivate a good society. 

Shemitta as yovel

When in parshat Mishpatim it says the servant goes free in the seventh year, Bechor Shor says it means he goes free in shemitta, and that shemitta is like yovel

Lishmot and lintosh

The terms lishmot and lintosh are crucial to verses Exodus 23:10,11. 
The issue in these verses is taking care of the needy. There is no reference to any shabbat – interruption. 
In Leviticus 25 it's all about the land, not the person, the gavrah, but the shabbat for the land. 
Sadeh and kerem come before tizrah, etc. 
Lakhem le'akhla recalls Genesis and the Garden in Eden. 


Deuteronomy 15:1-18 talks about shemittat kesafim. In Deuteronomy 31:10-13, not unlike that day at Mount Sinai, the day is called yom haqhel
The assembly is an emblem of covenant. 
Shemitta is the year which is lo zarua, it is a midbar
The haqhel returns the people to the desert where they were dependent on God, and to the moment of the covenant. 

A species of charity

The overall Rabbinic vision of shemitta is that fundamentally it is a species of charity. 
Shemittat kesafim, hence, is a model for how to give charity. 
ChZ”l therefore see the entire matter from an ethical rather than from a practicable perspective. 

Scarcity's counter-weight

Loaning is in the first place about abundance. 
The ability to loan is a measure of abundance. 
It seems the purpose of shemittat kesafim is to stop loan activity as we approach the year of shemitta, to stop the investment in new ventures so that the society can invest in managing the transition across the years of shemitta
Hillel needed to institute the prozbul to deal with the problem of shemittat kesafim because neither he nor the entire people understood the meaning of shnat shemitta. The people of Israel did not properly understand the meaning of sabbatical, of the nation taking off for a whole year from the tasks of economic endeavor. 
The people of Israel did not understand that the mandate of shnat shemitta was to welcome scarcity as a counter-weight to the build-up of abundance which can beset a nation.

Shemitta & chazaq

Shemitta might well be the opposite of chazaq
Shemitta means to release one's grasp as opposed to chazaq, which means to hold one's grasp. Shabbat signifies a turning away from the material and focusing onto the spiritual, onto that about which God is the focus. 
People seem not to appreciate the implications of shemitta on the very business practices of the nation. 

Personal credit cards

Shemittat kesafim might be about moving from debt to equity over the six year cycle. 
Shemittat kesafim would be about moving from a personal debt to a corporate relationship. As the shemitta year approaches, the volume of debt goes down and the volume of charitable grants goes up. The gemach funds should begin to kick in as the shemitta year approaches so that going into the year there would be no endebtedness among the people. The point isn't to stop the debt markets, the point is to stop the exercise of personal credit. 
  • The choice of terms in Deuteronomy 15:2 – yesha yad and yigash – and the distinction in Deuteronomy 15:3 between the Israelite and the nakhri, the stranger, indicates an inclination to move obligations over to the object and the impersonal and away from the person and the relationship. 
  • Either equity or corporate debt should move to replace personal debt. 
  • It's about how much or how little personal credit cards would be able to be used. It's about personal credit vs business credit. 
ChZ"l didn't understand the law so they overdid it and then figured out a way to dismantle the law altogether. Prozbul is an admission of rabbinic failure rather than, as legend has it, an emergency measure instituted by Hillel to redeem an unworkable system. 

Relinquishing power

Shemitta is about relinquishing power. 
The literal meaning of the word shemitta is to release one's hold on something, which is as unequivocal an expression as one can get of the instruction to relax one's control over something, be it the land or the fruit of the land or one's fellows' personal debts. 

Integrity for dignity

Shemittat kesafim is not about debts, it's about how society treats the poor and those who have turned to personal indenture and the loss of their integrity in order to preserve their dignity. 
Shemittat kesafim puts a floor below which no member of society can trade-off integrity for dignity. 

Not corporate

Shemittat kesafim could not be about business or corporate debt. 
The admonition to continue to make loans even as the shemitta year is approaching could not possibly hold for business judgments, which are by definition discretionary and not experienced as obligations. Only debts which objectively fall on the creditor as an obligation – loans to the poor or loans that have a personal or an extreme neediness about them – could be subject to shemittat kesafim
The point is that some debts should never have been debts, and shemittat kesafim recognizes that reality. 

A collective obligation

By injecting shemittat kesafim into the core body of covenantal law the Biblical author is guaranteeing a basic level of security in the society. 
Unlike corporate debt, personal debt is always an indicator of insecurity. The Biblical admonition every seven years to release personal debt without loss of dignity, coupled with the requirement to help kinsmen to meet their mortgage payments and to redeem foreclosures on real estate combines to define the maintenance of a certain basic level of security as a collective obligation. 
The incentive system of the individual choosing decisions in a free market environment works well so long as the circumstances of the decision-makers are discretionary. Once the decisions pertain to the mandatory, to the inalienable aspects of existence – basic food, shelter, health care – the apparatus of the collective must kick in. 
As expected, the matter of shemittat kesafim is a matter of what is alienable vs what is inalienable, and upon whom falls the responsibility to secure what is inalienable. 

Why it flips

How does choq and mishpat play out in the Chumash to figure out why it flips in the diaspora? (Leviticus 26:14 vs 26:44)

Valuation of the inalienable

The valuation of the inalienable follows directly after the story of the violation of shemitta, and focuses on how to work yovel

The Sheviit Project

Can shemitta be re-instated in modern day Israel without radically altering the rabbinic understanding of the institution? 
The Jewish people could do a Gorbachev on shemitta and just fiddle with it around the edges before the institution collapses under its own weight and its own contradictions or the Jews could admit that ChZl just had it wrong, that modern day science and politics understand the deeper structures of the sabbatical institution more clearly and more technically now than they could have back then. Jews would then proceed to repudiate as failed and defunct the methodology and the shape ChZl had originally designed for shemitta
Instead, Jews would take out a blank sheet of paper and start all over again with a practicable version of shemitta that doesn't take so many liberties with the text-as-written but which focuses on the deeper, though more mundane application of the system beginning with a voluntary collectivism that would limit membership to those who contributed to the storehouses of shemitta during the prior six years. 
The Jewish people wouldn't even necessarily call it shemitta. They would instead all engage in the heter machira but would proceed to build the storehouses and assemble as broad a membership as possible for what we would call The Sheviit Project. 
The Sheviit Project would be the next generation of the kibbutz movement. It would be a voluntary membership in a collective style of living. Those who chose to join would participate in the benefits of the collective. Those who elected not to join could not participate in this more essential kind of shemitta
It's not clear why the people of Israel couldn't live side by side with those who joined this mutual fund/mutual assurance society/mutual aid society entering into contractual obligation with each other that was governed by the rules of The Sheviit Project in much the same way as the Chumash devises mutual obligations to those it calls one's brothers and one's comrades. 

Shemitta is too hard

The logic of the heter machira as disqualifying the institution of shemitta is in fact impeccable. 
Heter machira recognizes the unworkability of the rabbinic design of shemitta, and so proceeds to suspend the institution of shemitta. The Jewish people can thus repudiate the avonot avotam itam through the mechanisms of the avotam itam
With the heter machira the rabbinic community is in effect saying they can't deal with shemitta – that it's too hard. Rabbinic scholarship is simply not up to the challenge of building the sort of practicable institutional sub-structure that would make shemitta doable so the rabbinic decisors are throwing up their hands and opting out. 
That is fine for the Jewish people. Through a simple legalistic contrivance the rabbinic community is taking itself out of the business of administering shemitta and leaving it for other elements in Israeli society to tackle. 

Mishpatim of shemitta

Mah inyan shemitta etzel torat kohanim likens the specificity of the laws of shemitta with the specificity of the laws of the mishkan
The laws of shemitta differ from the laws of the mishkan in that the laws of shemitta do not have an analogue to what parshiot Terumah, Tetzaveh, Vayaqhel and Piqudei represent for the laws of the mishkan. The Chumash does not spell out the positive institution-building activities those who keep the laws of shemitta need to undertake during the six active years. 
Why is there no shemitta analogue in the Bible to the exacting details presented for the building and erecting of the mishkan? We have a hint in Leviticus 26 when God says that if Israel walks in the chuqot and does the mitzvot of shemitta He will reside among them in a sort of pre-mishkan fashion. 
That reference invokes the notion of goel es nephesh even though the entire frame did not mention the mishpatim of shemitta. One would surmise therefrom that the mishpatim of shemitta refer to the institutional sub-structure of keeping the laws of shemitta. To build that sub-structure is tantamount to having God in the Children of Israel’s midst in a fashion that is pre-egel masseikha

Non-mishkanic & pre-mishkanic

The character of the laws of shemitta as being pre-mishkanic and of a moment earlier than the building of the mishkan in the Sinaitic epiphany means, if properly understood and kept, that the laws of shemitta are prior to the consecratory character of the mishkan
Shemitta is decidedly not qodesh because it belongs to an aspect of the covenant that pre-dates the covenant's consecration. 
The clue can be found in the interstitial passage between Chapters 25 and 26 in Leviticus 26:1,2 where quite cryptically the miqrah speaks of not erecting a pessel or a matzevah of any elillim you prepare nor of placing in your lands a maskis stone to bow down to; and of yes guarding the shabbatot of God and of fearing His miqdashot. 
This in contrast to the reference in parshat Qedoshim tihiyu (Leviticus 19:3) where He exhorts Israel to guard His shabbatot and fear their parents. There the exhortation is non-mishkanic but individual and not collective; here the exhortation is collective and pre-mishkanic. 

Egel maasseikha & shemitta

If God is once again to risk allowing His Presence to manifest among the Children of Israel in a pre-mishkanic fashion, then He must first be sure the Children of Israel will not provoke His wrath as they did with the ma’assei ha’egel
He therefore tells them to refrain from making what amounts to an analogue to the egel maasseikha while at the same time exhorting them during the six active years to guard the shabbat and fear the miqdash when they build the sub-structure for the year of shemitta

Embrace the sabbath year

Rabbinic legend has it that the Messiah will come when the Jewish people keep two Sabbath days in a row. 
Curious that, since it deflects from the true source of Messianic return, when the Jewish people once again embrace not the sabbath day but the sabbath year. 

Shemitta & sexual chuqot to’eivah

The difference between violating the laws of shemitta and violating the laws in Leviticus 18 of sexual perversion (both of which could trigger national exile from the land) is that the laws of shemitta pertain only to when the people of Israel are sovereign whereas the sexual prohibitions pertain to the sovereignty of any inhabitants of the land. 
As such, the violation of the laws of sexual perversion are an abomination (and the performance of those rites are regarded as chuqot to’eivah) in a way that the violation of the laws of shemitta are not. 

Joseph's 'shemitta'

Let us define chuqim umishpatim as the supporting practices and regulations that go into promoting the shemira and the assiya of a mitzvah
  • The choq defines the assiya and the mishpat defines the shemira
  • Chuqim umishpatim can thus comprehend much of what the ChZ”l call Torah sh'baal peh
  • The chuqim and mishpatim of shemitta are the surrounding assiya and shemira of the sabbatical year. 
The institutional centerpiece of those chuqim umishpatim is the retail outlet that manages the supply chain for agribusiness. The Josephite administration defined the character of that agribusiness supply chain management. The seven fat and seven lean years were a massive application of the principles of shemitta. Joseph’s brothers failed in not doing with their surplus what Joseph did with Egypt's. The two dreams of Joseph both spoke to the two aspects of the shemitta laws: the first spoke to the produce of the land; the second spoke to the power relations within the family. When Yaaqov hears the second dream he shamors the davar
The consequence of their not heeding Joseph's 'shemitta' forecasts was that the Children of Israel had to abandon their lands. 
  • Rachel's children led Israel's children out of Mesopotamia and into Egypt. 
  • Leah had einayim rakhim (Genesis 29:17) rather than a rakh lev (Deuteronomy 20:8)
The impact of the laws of shemitta are exactly the reverse of the impact of the administration of Joseph. According to the laws of shemitta, the land must stay in the hands of the general public and the power cannot become concentrated in the hands of an elite few. Indeed, the food cannot be sold during the year of famine. 
The mandate of the supply chain administrator is: 
  1. to arrange for agricultural sabbaticals; 
  2. to distribute and sell yashan food during the sabbatical years; 
  3. to feed the poor during the sabbatical years; and 
  4. to administer the JNF for keeping the land within the widely distributed ownership control of the members of the agricultural collective. 
Thus administered, shemitta is about, once every seven years, moving the locus of power away from the agricultural. It would be a proper mandate for an ecologically configured JNF. The ecological impulse puts the JNF into the social welfare business in addition to the business of planting trees and acquiring land. 
Shemitta thus forces a whole-design approach onto the matter of providing necessities to the society. Shemitta is thus fundamental and sets the tone and offers a template for institutions that provide for the general population's material needs similar to the way the mishkan is fundamental and sets the tone and offers a template for institutions that provide for the general population's spiritual needs. 
Shabbos is thus temporal and thus intangible but focused on the material while mishkan is situational and thus tangible but focused on the spiritual. 
Masseikha can mean molten but it can also mean visible. Elohei masseikha could mean visible idols, material idols rather than purely spiritual beings, hence the prohibitions in Leviticus 26:1 on pessel and matzeivah and even maskhis

Shabbos x 70

  • The number of times the word shabbos occurs in the Chumash is 70. 
  • The number of times the word shabbos occurs with respect to shemitta is 17: 
    • 10 in the BeHar segment, and 
    • 7 in the BeChuqotei segment (with the interlude properly going to the BeHar segment, as the original segmentation of the chapters has it). 
      • All 7 of the BeChuqotei occurences refer to the tokhachah
  • The remaining occurences therefore number 53, of which 
    • 3 are a repetition in Deuteronomy of the Decalogue's statement in Exodus, and 
    • 1 is the story of the meqoshesh eitzim, which is narrative and not legislative. 
  • That leaves variously 49 (7 x 7) or 50 instances. 
  • The term shabbaton occurs 11 times: 
    • 7 times as shabbat shabbaton, and 
    • 4 times as shabbaton by itself: 
      • one each for 
        1. Yom haZikaron, 
        2. Chag haAssif, 
        3. Shemini Atzeret, and once for the 
        4. sephiach qetzirkha for the land.

Deluxe package

Choq has the mirror spelling of qach. It might also have the mirror meaning. As qach means to take, so choq could mean to be granted. 
Choq is thus the manifestation of chanun, grace – that which is granted without it having to be requested, what comes with the deluxe package, so to speak. 

According to justice

Choq respects the boundaries, and is thus the legal embodiment of temperance; mishpat weighs the values, and is this the legal embodiment of justice. 
When scripture says to shamor the mishpat it is because there is no entitlement on one side of the relationship. The bounty of the tithe is a mishpat because the ministers expressly do not have a stake in the patrimony of the land. They have no choq in the adamah. Their choq is in the ritual offerings. 
So with the tithe there is no respecting a boundary, there is only acting according to justice. Ministers have to eat and it is only right for the people to subsidize them. 

If not religiously

Whereas it might be fair to say the general population does not ‘zakhor’ the yom ha’shabbat, it would also be fair to say the general population does yes ‘shamor’ the yom ha’shabbat
It is not difficult for those who would observe the laws and strictures of shabbat to keep those laws and strictures because the general population, in its own way, goes to the trouble of making room for that observance. The surrounding national institutions have been brought into congruence with that sub-population which wishes to keep one day of rest; and, indeed, the entire population keeps the day of rest, if not religiously, then at least in effect. 
In most societies there is one day that is just not a work day, and even if here and there individuals do not in absolute consecration keep the day, they keep it in effect because of what is going on in the general society, which is the point of the temporal institution. 

05 November 2011

Independent of location

In detailing the laws of yovel, Leviticus 25:9 says ta'aviru shofar bekhol artzechem – in all your lands. 
That seems to signify the laws of yovel apply not only to the inhabitants of Israel but also to residents of the diaspora. Clearly the issue of manumission seems to be understood as independent of location. 
It’s not an unreasonable conclusion. 

Standing up

There's a pun at the core of the sheviit laws. The word tvuah, which means ‘that which is brought in from the earth’ (Leviticus 25:16), and which is the only thing that can be transacted in when real property is devised, comes from the same word as 'ki tavouh el ha'aretz' the contextual frame for all the laws of sheviit (Leviticus 25:2). 
The occupation of the Land of Israel defines the people of Israel as produce in relation to the land. They are tavouh to the land in contrast to the tevuah they bring out from the land. In both cases they do not gain any direct purchase of the real estate itself. 
It ties to the story of Sodom and to God's concern about the imminent destruction of the land itself. That episode revolves around the word maqom, a site of standing up. 
The 'm' prefix denotes a site of some action: it makes the verb suffix into a noun denoting the site where the verb form occurs. Hence miqdash is the site where consecration takes place; mizbeach is the site where slaughter takes places; mitbach, where cooking takes place, etc. 
The episode of Sodom is introduced in Genesis 18:16 begins with the words "vayaqumu misham ha'anashim". Then, when YHWH deliberates about bringing Avraham into the decision to devastate the land of the Jordan valley, He says "lemaan havih YHWH al Avraham es asher diber alav." (Genesis 18:19) 
The havih that YHWH does to Avraham is part of the complex of actions having to do with the place where standing up occurs. 

Fundamental and covenantal

The violation of the laws of sheviit carries with it in particular the consequences of overturning the covenant. 
That's why the laws of sheviit are introduced with the expression 'These are the laws God gave to Moshe at the mountain – bahar." The laws of sheviit apply with the same force as all those covenantal events that transpired at Mount Sinai, which events applied to the people and to God in the wilderness in the immediate setting of the mountain. The laws of sheviit are not simply details about how to do this and that, they go directly to the existence of the covenant, if not in the first place (in the wilderness) then certainly as they apply to the future situation when the Children of Israel will have taken possession of the Land of Israel. 
The laws of sheviit are fundamental and covenantal. The difference between the laws of sheviit and the initial covenantal rites at the mountain is that the laws of sheviit apply only to when the people take possession of the land while the initial covenantal rites apply even outside the land. 
Other laws also take effect only after the people take possession of the land but those laws are not covenantal. The discussion of their violation does not carry with it a disquisition about how, as a result of said violation, the covenant would be overturned and the people expelled from the land and relegated to the ignominy of exile. 


A people that will become subject to the despotism of strongman rulers will, right after those rulers are deposed, likely become fearful. 
Hence the foretelling of the condition of the people in exile as fearful when the laws of sheviit are not kept. 

Not shemitta

'Mah inyan shemitta etzel har Sinai' is a malapropism. It should be 'Mah inyan sheviit etzel har Sinai' because the term shemitta never shows up in the laws that were said to be given at har Sinai
That error is a telling one because it reveals the presumption on the part of ChZl that the land belongs to the people and not to God, hence their need to shamet the land. I.e., the question reveals a profound misunderstanding of the essential covenantal character of the laws of sheviit – that the land is God's by choq and cannot be tranferred to Man. 


To honor God's covenant with Man requires Man to work less than the maximum. It requires self-restraint. 
God draws Himself in to make room for Man, and Man must do likewise to make room for God. Man and God exchange self-restraints with each other. The relationship between the parties in covenant is diplomatic. 
Remove the self-restraint and you see revealed hubris. That same self-restraint is essential to the Constitutional balance of power. 
The three co-equal branches of government must exercise self-restraint and diplomatic decorum to honor the covenantal character of their relationship with each other, of their relationship with the several states, and of their relationship with the people. To arrogate power to one branch over the objections of the other branches, or to arrogate power to the Federal branch over the objection of the state branches risks arrogating power away from the populace. 
That trifecta of hubris is precisely what the Cheney/Bush administration was guilty of. 

At the leadership

The reason for the shemitta (relief) of debt and for supporting the impoverished in society is not about the direct support of the poor, it's rather about the politics of extractives vs creatives. 
It's through the management of debt that the extractives manage to maintain strongman rule. 
The edicts to serve God are directed at the leadership, not the general public. 

Belong to everyone

Once the economic power is made to redound to the resources which are at the source of the production process the extractives lose their incentive to inflict the resource curse. 
By putting the resources in God's trust, and by having God, every seven years, command those resources to belong to everyone in the society, the society can go on to lift the resource curse.