The created world is both bountiful and fragile.
A Jewish environmental activist suggests that treating it with respect and care should be an integral part of our living out the Jewish concepts of Torah (instruction/learning), avodah (service/worship/work), and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness).
“O child of Adam, when you return to Nature, on that day you shall open your eyes… You shall know that you have returned to yourself, for in hiding from Nature, you hid from yourself… And you will recognize on that day…you must renew everything: your food and your drink, your dress and your home, the character of your work and the way that you learn — everything.”
So wrote Aaron David Gordon, the pioneer-philosopher of Labor Zionism, at the dawn of the kibbutz movement in 1910. A century later, with species disappearing and pollution rising and the globe warming, it’s time to do what Gordon said, in ways he could not have imagined, and indeed “renew everything.” We must bring our entire being to the sacred work of Creation care — and in so doing Jews are blessed with millennia of thought and experience to draw upon.
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