Wisdom of the Jewish Mystics, Alan Unterman, pp.80
Once when Rav Kook was walking in the fields, lost deep in thought, the young student with him inadvertently plucked a leaf off a branch. Rav Kook was visibly shaken by this act and, turning to his companion he said gently: "believe me when I tell you that I never simply pluck a leaf or a blade of grass or any living thig unless I have to. Every part of the vegetable world is singing a song and breathing forth a secret of the divine mystery of the creation." The words of Rav Kook penetrated deeply into the mind of the young student: For the first time he understood what it means to show compassion to all creatures.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How do you relate to Rav Kook's lesson? Was his response appropriate?

2. Why did Rav Kook's words impact the student stronger than other lessons of environmentalism and compassion?

3. How does this translate into our everyday lives and acts?

Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)