The Shemitah - Are We Just Days Away From Global Economic Destruction? (Op-Ed)

Recently, a new buzzword has made its way around economic circles as the end of summer 2015 approaches. Some in the financial world call it “The 7-year cycle” while others call it by its religious name, “The Shemitah.” Popularized by the New York Times’ best-seller “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of The Shemitah” by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, as well as viral videos like Jeff Berwick’s “Shemitah Exposed,” this cyclical phenomenon takes place every seventh September.

Let’s look a deeper into The Shemitah, and what it could mean for the global economy.


Is the world making arrangements to accommodate ‘’The Shemitah” to prepare for it, or to capitalize upon it? Consider this to be the pieces of a puzzle to solve. I’ll share with you the pieces that I know, relating to the economic results that consistently occur at certain times. Feel free to use your mind’s eye to fill in the rest of the picture’s missing pieces, as you see fit. This certainly is not the entire story, and here we’ll just focus on the economics of it all.

The Shemitah, also spelled Shemittah, and Shmita, is of a Jewish observance that goes back thousands of years. Once the Jewish people settled in “The Holy Land,” they observed seven-year cycles, culminating in a Sabbatical year, or a year of rest. This year was known as Shemitah, who’s literal meaning is “to release” and to forgive all debts, which is very important here and now, as we live in a heavily debt based economic society, worldwide.

Following the destruction of the second Holy Temple would usher in Year One of The Shemitah Cycle. In the Jewish calendar, this was the year 3829, or 68–69 CE on the secular calendar. Taking every seven years from that year, the next Shemittah year will be the year 5775 (after “Creation”), which would bring us to the end of the current Shemitah Year, which ran from Sept. 25, 2014, through Sept. 13, 2015.

“At the end of seven years you will make a release. And this is the manner of the release: to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend; he shall not exact from his friend or his brother, because the time of the release for the Lord has arrived.”

Deuteronomy 15:1–2

The Shemittah year waives all outstanding debts between Jewish debtors and creditors. This aspect of Shemittah observance is known as shemittat kesafim, “release of money [debts].”

Leaving the religious and personal machinations out of it, how does that affect us economically? Well, the current economic structure has been heavily Western-based over the last century, when economic turmoil in the West can have a global impact in many major industries.

The U.S. Stock Market in New York is the largest embodiment of this global economic trade and financial system. This may include the bond market, stock trading on the floors of Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest global exchange, NASDAQ, the Dow Jones, and structures and related institutions. This is where we’ll focus our attention and review the history relating to The Shemitah.

A walk down a dark economic memory lane

Going back over a century in the annals of Western economic history, economic turmoil, or a washing away of debts seems to consistently occur at the end of a Shemitah year. The final day of the Shemitah year is set to fall anywhere from around September 10 to the end of September, every seventh year.

Economic turmoil may still cause economic effects after September, like in 1987, when “Black Monday” struck on October 19. Now keep in mind, in Western Society, the economic “fiscal year” commonly ends at the end of September, beginning a new on October 1st, which also ties in nicely with this three-week window of economic resetting, if you will. Coincidence?

Let’s take some time to review the Shemitah Year history. Also, keep in mind that every seventh year of the 7-year Shemitah Cycle is called a Super Shemitah Year. This just happens to fall on Sunday, September 13, 2015. Now some hard facts on how Shemitah Years have ended in recent history.

  • 1901-1902 Year of Shemitah - Stock market drops almost 50%.
  • 1916-1917 Year of Shemitah (*Super Shemitah Year) - Stock market drops 40%. United States enters WWI. Germany, Russia, Austria, Turkey and Great Britain suffer economic collapse.
  • 1930-1931 Year of Shemitah - The Great Depression. The worst financial crisis in modern history.
  • 1937-1938 Year of Shemitah - Half of the stock market collapses sparking a global recession.
  • 1944-1945 Year of Shemitah - End of German Reich and Britain's hold on territories. Establishment of America as the world's superpower. Bretton Woods Conference giving the U.S. Dollar Global Reserve Currency status; and diminishing of gold’s influence.
  • 1965-1966 Year of Shemitah (*Super Shemitah Year) - Stock market drops almost 25%
  • 1972-1973 Year of Shemitah - Stock market crashes almost 50%. Global recession; US oil crisis.
  • 1979-1980 Year of Shemitah - Global recession.
  • 1986-1987 Year of Shemitah - “Black Tuesday”; stock market crashes by 1/3.
  • 1993-1994 Year of Shemitah - Bond market crash.
  • 2000-2001 Year of Shemitah - 9/11. Markets open on fin