Beyond the Light Bulb: Discovering Judaism’s Call for Environmental Stewardship
1 א

Part 1: Paying the Rent: Our Rights and Responsibilities on Earth As God’s Tenants

2 ב

Think of an amazing "OMG!" experience that you have had in the natural world. What was it that made you say "OMG!" Why has that experience stuck with you, and what does it mean to you?

3 ג

According to Leviticus 25, who owns the earth? What practical significance does this have in traditional Jewish life as practiced today, as described in Tractate Berakhot?

4 ד
(א) בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹקִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (ב) וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹקִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃ (ג) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃ (ד) וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹקִ֛ים אֶת־הָא֖וֹר כִּי־ט֑וֹב וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹקִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ (ה) וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹקִ֤ים ׀ לָאוֹר֙ י֔וֹם וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד׃ (פ) (ו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֔ים יְהִ֥י רָקִ֖יעַ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַמָּ֑יִם וִיהִ֣י מַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין מַ֖יִם לָמָֽיִם׃ (ז) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹקִים֮ אֶת־הָרָקִיעַ֒ וַיַּבְדֵּ֗ל בֵּ֤ין הַמַּ֙יִם֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִתַּ֣חַת לָרָקִ֔יעַ וּבֵ֣ין הַמַּ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעַ֣ל לָרָקִ֑יעַ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (ח) וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֱלֹקִ֛ים לָֽרָקִ֖יעַ שָׁמָ֑יִם וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שֵׁנִֽי׃ (פ) (ט) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֗ים יִקָּו֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ אֶל־מָק֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד וְתֵרָאֶ֖ה הַיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (י) וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹקִ֤ים ׀ לַיַּבָּשָׁה֙ אֶ֔רֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵ֥ה הַמַּ֖יִם קָרָ֣א יַמִּ֑ים וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹקִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (יא) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֗ים תַּֽדְשֵׁ֤א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ דֶּ֔שֶׁא עֵ֚שֶׂב מַזְרִ֣יעַ זֶ֔רַע עֵ֣ץ פְּרִ֞י עֹ֤שֶׂה פְּרִי֙ לְמִינ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (יב) וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֙רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹקִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (יג) וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שְׁלִישִֽׁי׃ (פ) (יד) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַיּ֖וֹם וּבֵ֣ין הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְהָי֤וּ לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים׃ (טו) וְהָי֤וּ לִמְאוֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (טז) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹקִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃ (יז) וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹקִ֖ים בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יח) וְלִמְשֹׁל֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם וּבַלַּ֔יְלָה וּֽלֲהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑שֶׁךְ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹקִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (יט) וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם רְבִיעִֽי׃ (פ) (כ) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה וְעוֹף֙ יְעוֹפֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ (כא) וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹקִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹקִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (כב) וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹקִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֗וּ וּמִלְא֤וּ אֶת־הַמַּ֙יִם֙ בַּיַּמִּ֔ים וְהָע֖וֹף יִ֥רֶב בָּאָֽרֶץ׃ (כג) וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם חֲמִישִֽׁי׃ (פ) (כד) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֗ים תּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ נֶ֤פֶשׁ חַיָּה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ בְּהֵמָ֥ה וָרֶ֛מֶשׂ וְחַֽיְתוֹ־אֶ֖רֶץ לְמִינָ֑הּ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (כה) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹקִים֩ אֶת־חַיַּ֨ת הָאָ֜רֶץ לְמִינָ֗הּ וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ וְאֵ֛ת כָּל־רֶ֥מֶשׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֖ה לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹקִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (כו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כז) וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹקִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹקִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ (כח) וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹקִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹקִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כט) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב ׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָֽה׃ (ל) וּֽלְכָל־חַיַּ֣ת הָ֠אָרֶץ וּלְכָל־ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ רוֹמֵ֣שׂ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה אֶת־כָּל־יֶ֥רֶק עֵ֖שֶׂב לְאָכְלָ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (לא) וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹקִים֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם הַשִּׁשִּֽׁי׃ (פ) (א) וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ הַשָּׁמַ֥יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ וְכָל־צְבָאָֽם׃ (ב) וַיְכַ֤ל אֱלֹקִים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃ (ג) וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹקִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹקִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃ (פ) (ד) אֵ֣לֶּה תוֹלְד֧וֹת הַשָּׁמַ֛יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ בְּהִבָּֽרְאָ֑ם בְּי֗וֹם עֲשׂ֛וֹת יי אֱלֹקִ֖ים אֶ֥רֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם׃
(1) When God began to create heaven and earth— (2) the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water— (3) God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (4) God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. (5) God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, a first day. (6) God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water, that it may separate water from water.” (7) God made the expanse, and it separated the water which was below the expanse from the water which was above the expanse. And it was so. (8) God called the expanse Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (9) God said, “Let the water below the sky be gathered into one area, that the dry land may appear.” And it was so. (10) God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good. (11) And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. (12) The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good. (13) And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. (14) God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years; (15) and they serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.” And it was so. (16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. (17) And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, (18) to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that this was good. (19) And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (20) God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and birds that fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” (21) God created the great sea monsters, and all the living creatures of every kind that creep, which the waters brought forth in swarms, and all the winged birds of every kind. And God saw that this was good. (22) God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (23) And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (24) God said, “Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: cattle, creeping things, and wild beasts of every kind.” And it was so. (25) God made wild beasts of every kind and cattle of every kind, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. And God saw that this was good. (26) And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.” (27) And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (28) God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” (29) God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. (30) And to all the animals on land, to all the birds of the sky, and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breath of life, [I give] all the green plants for food.” And it was so. (31) And God saw all that He had made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (1) The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. (2) On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. (3) And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done. (4) Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created. When the LORD God made earth and heaven—
5 ה

According to Genesis, what is the relationship of human beings and the earth?

6 ו

​Nahum Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis, pp. 11-12 on Genesis 1:26

Human beings are to enjoy a unique relationship with God, who communicates with them alone and who shares with them the custody and administration of the world.

At the same time, the pairing of the creation of man in this verse with that of land animals, and their sharing in common a vegetarian diet, focuses attention on the dual nature of humankind, the creatureliness and earthiness as well as the Godlike qualities.

The mysterious duality of man--the awesome power at his command and the starkness of his utter insignificance as compared with God--is the subject of the psalmist [Psalm 8].

They shall rule The verbs used here and in verse 28 express the coercive power of the monarch, consonant with the explanation just given for "the image of God." This power, however, cannot include the license to exploit nature banefully, for the following reasons: the human race is not inherently sovereign, but enjoys its dominion solely by the grace of God. Furthermore, the model of kinship here presupposed is Israelite, according to which, the monarch does not possess unrestrained power and authority; the limits of his rule are carefully defined and circumscribed by divine law, so that kingship is to be exercised with responsibility and is subject to accountability. Moreover, man, the sovereign of nature, is conceived at this stage to be functioning within the context of a "very good" world in which the interrelationships of organisms with their environment and with each other are entirely harmonious and mutually beneficial, an idyllic situation that is clearly illustrated in Isaiah's vision of the ideal future king (Isaiah 11: 1-9). Thus, despite the power given him, man still requires special divine sanction to partake of the earth's vegetation, and although he "rules" the animal world, he is not here permitted to eat flesh (vv. 29-30; cf. 9: 3-4)

7 ז

According to Sarna, how are we to understand Genesis 1: 28 and God's command to humans, "Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it"?

8 ח

(א) וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יי אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בְּהַ֥ר סִינַ֖י לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ב) דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵקֶ֔ם כִּ֤י תָבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י נֹתֵ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם וְשָׁבְתָ֣ה הָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַיי (ג) שֵׁ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ תִּזְרַ֣ע שָׂדֶ֔ךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹ֣ר כַּרְמֶ֑ךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ֖ אֶת־תְּבוּאָתָֽהּ׃ (ד) וּבַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗ת שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַיי שָֽׂדְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔ע וְכַרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תִזְמֹֽר׃ (ה) אֵ֣ת סְפִ֤יחַ קְצִֽירְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִקְצ֔וֹר וְאֶת־עִנְּבֵ֥י נְזִירֶ֖ךָ לֹ֣א תִבְצֹ֑ר שְׁנַ֥ת שַׁבָּת֖וֹן יִהְיֶ֥ה לָאָֽרֶץ... (כ) וְכִ֣י תֹאמְר֔וּ מַה־נֹּאכַ֤֖ל בַּשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑ת הֵ֚ן לֹ֣א נִזְרָ֔ע וְלֹ֥א נֶאֱסֹ֖ף אֶת־תְּבוּאָתֵֽנוּ׃ (כא) וְצִוִּ֤יתִי אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי֙ לָכֶ֔ם בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הַשִּׁשִּׁ֑ית וְעָשָׂת֙ אֶת־הַתְּבוּאָ֔ה לִשְׁלֹ֖שׁ הַשָּׁנִֽים׃ (כב) וּזְרַעְתֶּ֗ם אֵ֚ת הַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁמִינִ֔ת וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֖ם מִן־הַתְּבוּאָ֣ה יָשָׁ֑ן עַ֣ד ׀ הַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַתְּשִׁיעִ֗ת עַד־בּוֹא֙ תְּב֣וּאָתָ֔הּ תֹּאכְל֖וּ יָשָֽׁן׃ (כג) וְהָאָ֗רֶץ לֹ֤א תִמָּכֵר֙ לִצְמִתֻ֔ת כִּי־לִ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ כִּֽי־גֵרִ֧ים וְתוֹשָׁבִ֛ים אַתֶּ֖ם עִמָּדִֽי׃

(1) The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: (2) Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a sabbath of the LORD. (3) Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. (4) But in the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath of the LORD: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. (5) You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your untrimmed vines; it shall be a year of complete rest for the land... (20) And should you ask, “What are we to eat in the seventh year, if we may neither sow nor gather in our crops?” (21) I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it shall yield a crop sufficient for three years. (22) When you sow in the eighth year, you will still be eating old grain of that crop; you will be eating the old until the ninth year, until its crops come in. (23) But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me.

9 ט

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל: כל הנהנה מן העולם הזה בלא ברכה כאילו נהנה מקדשי שמים שנא' (תהלים כד, א) ליי הארץ ומלואה ר' לוי רמי כתיב ליי הארץ ומלואה וכתיב (תהלים קטו, טז) השמים שמים ליי והארץ נתן לבני אדם לא קשיא כאן קודם ברכה כאן לאחר ברכה

Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: Whoever enjoys anything of this world without a benediction is as though he had partaken of the holy things of Heaven ; as it is said, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" (Psalms 24:1). R. Levi asked : It is written, "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," and it is written, "The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth hath He given to the children of men" (Psalms 115:16)! There is no contradiction ; the former passage referring [[fol. 35 b.]] to before the benediction [has been uttered], the latter to after the benediction.

10 י

Holy Ground
Words by Woody Guthrie, 1954, Music by Frank London (The Klezmatics), 2003

Take off, take off your shoes
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
Take off, take off your shoes
The spot you’re standing, its holy ground

These words I heard in my burning bush
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
I heard my fiery voice speak to me
This spot you’re standing, it’s holy ground

That spot is holy holy ground
That place you stand it’s holy ground
This place you tread, it’s holy ground
God made this place his holy ground

Take off your shoes and pray
The ground you walk it’s holy ground
Take off your shoes and pray
The ground you walk it’s holy ground

Every spot on earth I trapse around
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground
Every spot on earth I trapse around
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground

Every spot it’s holy ground
Every little inch it’s holy ground
Every grain of dirt it’s holy ground
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground

11 יא

Part 2. Beyond Bal Tashhit: Stewardship of the Earth in a Time of Climate Change

12 יב

How is Deuteronomy's prohibition of cutting down fruit-bearing trees in times of war interpreted in later generations? How does the mitzvah of bal tashhit apply to us today?

13 יג
(יט) כִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְֽהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתָפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֽוֹר׃ (כ) רַ֞ק עֵ֣ץ אֲשֶׁר־תֵּדַ֗ע כִּֽי־לֹא־עֵ֤ץ מַאֲכָל֙ ה֔וּא אֹת֥וֹ תַשְׁחִ֖ית וְכָרָ֑תָּ וּבָנִ֣יתָ מָצ֗וֹר עַל־הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁר־הִ֨וא עֹשָׂ֧ה עִמְּךָ֛ מִלְחָמָ֖ה עַ֥ד רִדְתָּֽהּ׃ (פ)
(19) When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human to withdraw before you into the besieged city? (20) Only trees that you know do not yield food may be destroyed; you may cut them down for constructing siegeworks against the city that is waging war on you, until it has been reduced.
14 יד

(א) בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם... אֵיזֶהוּ גִבּוֹר, הַכּוֹבֵשׁ אֶת יִצְרוֹ... אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר, הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ... אֵיזֶהוּ מְכֻבָּד, הַמְכַבֵּד אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת....

(1) Ben Zoma says: Who is the wise one? One who learns from all people...Who is the strong? One who overcomes desire... Who is the rich one? One who is happy with his or her lot...Who is honored? One who honors the created beings...

15 טו

The Definition of Sustainability

In 1987, responding to a request from the United Nations, a Commission was formed for developing long-term strategies for achieving economic development while dealing more effectively with environmental concerns facing humanity and the planet. Named the "Brundtland Commission" after its chair, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Commission developed the most widely used definition of "sustainability," a concept which is in many ways an extension of the religious concept of stewardship. With environmental concerns as the immediate backdrop for its report, the Commission defined sustainability as:

"meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

16 טז

Lawrence Troster, An Environmental Al-Het, from: Laurel Kearns & Catherine Keller, editors, EcoSpirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth, p. 524-525:

Lord, our Creator, we awaken each morning to the dawn chorus of Creation. Our ears hear the birds of the sky singing to the world that they are still alive, Our eyes see the flowers of the earth opening to the light of the sun. We smell the scents of the fresh morning air. How many are the things You have made O Lord, the universe is full of Your creations! And yet we ignore these sounds, sights and smells. Instead of the birds’ song we hear only the sound of cars and machinery. Instead of the sight of green, brown and gold we see only the gray of concrete. Instead of the fragrance of flowers we smell only the stink of pollution. We experience only the fruits of our own creations. We know only of our own works which too often have wasted Your creation and silenced many of the voices of Your choir. We think we understand the world when only a fool thinks they can fathom the depths of Your designs. May You give us the strength and the wisdom to see, smell and listen to Your creation and be moved to protect and cherish the blessings that You have given us. May we no longer be moved by greed and destruction to waste Your world for if we destroy it there will be no other. We now know that the destruction of Your Creation is a sin.

And so for the sin that we have sinned against You by despoiling Your Creation, forgiving God, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

17 יז

What steps can you take to lower your carbon footprint? What steps can your school and community take?

18 יח

Watch the Story of Stuff.

19 יט

(ז) כְּשֶׁצָּרִין עַל עִיר לְתָפְשָׂהּ. אֵין מַקִּיפִין אוֹתָהּ מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתֶיהָ אֶלָּא מִשָּׁלֹשׁ רוּחוֹתֶיהָ. וּמַנִּיחִין מָקוֹם לַבּוֹרֵחַ וּלְכָל מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהִמָּלֵט עַל נַפְשׁוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לא, ז) "וַיִּצְבְּאוּ עַל מִדְיָן כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יי אֶת משֶׁה". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁבְּכָךְ צִוָּהוּ:

(ח) אֵין קוֹצְצִין אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל שֶׁחוּץ לַמְּדִינָה וְאֵין מוֹנְעִין מֵהֶם אַמַּת הַמַּיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּיבְשׁוּ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, יט) "לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ". וְכָל הַקּוֹצֵץ לוֹקֶה. וְלֹא בְּמָצוֹר בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא בְּכָל מָקוֹם כָּל הַקּוֹצֵץ אִילַן מַאֲכָל דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה לוֹקֶה. אֲבָל קוֹצְצִין אוֹתוֹ אִם הָיָה מַזִּיק אִילָנוֹת אֲחֵרִים. אוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּזִּיק בִּשְׂדֵה אֲחֵרִים. אוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁדָּמָיו יְקָרִים. לֹא אָסְרָה תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה:

(ט) כָּל אִילַן סְרָק מֻתָּר לָקֹץ אוֹתוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לוֹ. וְכֵן אִילַן מַאֲכָל שֶׁהִזְקִין וְאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה אֶלָּא דָּבָר מוּעָט שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לִטְרֹחַ בּוֹ מֻתָּר לָקֹץ אוֹתוֹ. וְכַמָּה יְהֵא הַזַּיִת עוֹשֶׂה וְלֹא יְקֻצֶּנּוּ. רֹבַע הַקַּב זֵיתִים. וְדֶקֶל שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה קַב תְּמָרִים לֹא יְקֻצֶּנּוּ:

(י) וְלֹא הָאִילָנוֹת בִּלְבַד. אֶלָּא כָּל הַמְשַׁבֵּר כֵּלִים. וְקוֹרֵעַ בְּגָדִים. וְהוֹרֵס בִּנְיָן. וְסוֹתֵם מַעְיָן. וּמְאַבֵּד מַאֲכָלוֹת דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה. עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַשְׁחִית. וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

(8)We do not cut fruit-bearing trees that are outside the place, and we do not withdraw water so they will shrivel and die, as it is written: you must not destroy its trees (Deut. 20:19) and whoever cuts them receives lashes. And this does not apply just to the siege, but in every place whoever cuts down a fruit-bearing tree just to destroy receives lashes. But we do cut a tree if it is damaging other trees, or others’ field, or if its value is great – the Torah only forbids in the case of destruction.

(9) Any fruitless tree can be cut, even if it unnecessary – and this applies to a fruit-bearing tree that was damaged and cannot bear fruit anymore, or if it bears only such a small quantity that we don’t bother harvesting it. And how much is necessary for it not to be cut? An olive tree – a quarter kav; a date tree – a full kav. Any fruitless tree can be cut, even if it unnecessary – and this applies to a fruit-bearing tree that was damaged and cannot bear fruit anymore, or if it bears only such a small quantity that we don’t bother harvesting it. And how much is necessary for it not to be cut? A olive tree – a quarter kav; a date tree – a full kav.

(10) Not only one who cuts down food trees, but also one who smashes household goods, tears clothes, demolishes a building, stops up a spring, or destroys food on purpose violates the command: You must not destroy...! (Dest. 20:19)

20 כ

What is your ecological footprint? What steps can you take in your personal life to lower it? What can your school do?

21 כא

Part 3 Food Justice: You Are What You Eat

1. Connection to food sources

2. Care for environment

3. Care for people who produce food

22 כב
23 כג

R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb: A Philosophy of Jewish Laws and Observances

This prohibition of purposeless destruction of fruit trees around a besieged city is only to be taken as an example of general wastefulness. Under the concept of bal tashhit, the purposeless destruction of anything at all is taken to be forbidden, so that our text becomes the most comprehensive warning to human beings not to misuse the position, which God has given them as master of the world and its matter, by capricious, passionate, or merely thoughtless wasteful destruction of anything on earth. Only for wise use has God laid the world at our feet when God said to humanity, "subdue the world and have dominion over it." (Genesis 1:28)...Destruction does not only mean making something purposely unfit for its designated use; it also means trying to attain a certain aim by making use of more things and more valuable things when fewer and less valuable ones would suffice; or if this aim is not really worth the means expended for its attainment. [For example] kindling something that is still fit for other purposes for the sake of light;...wearing down something more than is necessary;...consuming more than is necessary;.... On the other hand, if destruction is necessary for a higher and more worthy aim, then it ceases to be destruction and itself becomes wise creating. [For example] cutting down a fruit tree which is doing harm to other more valuable plants, [and] burning a vessel when there is a scarcity of wood in order to protect one's weakened self from catching a cold.

24 כד

The purpose of kashrut is to keep us humane

What was the necessity for the entire procedure of ritual slaughter? For the sake of self-discipline. It is far more appropriate for man not to eat meat; only if he has a strong desire for meat does the Torah permit it, and even this only after the trouble and inconvenience necessary to satisfy his desire. Perhaps because of the bother and annoyance of the whole procedure, he will be restrained from such a strong and uncontrollable desire for meat.

– Rabbi Solomon Efraim Lunchitz, Kli Yakar

(From Hazon's ​Food for Thought, ​28)

25 כה

Wetting the blade

After the Ba’al Shem Tov passed, a new shochet took his place. He was well-learned in all the laws and followed them scrupulously. He sharpened his knife, knew just where to hold the neck, how to make the cut.

He noticed, though, that a man would watch him as he slaughtered the chickens, and shake his head in disapproval. After several days, he asked the man what he was doing wrong.

“I wet the blade, I sharpen it, I make the smallest, quickest cut, just as I learned from the Ba’al Shem Tov. What am I doing that’s upsetting you?”

The man, who remembered watching the Ba’al Shem Tov prepare for and slaughter animals, shook his head.

“It is true, you wet the blade and sharpen it. But where you use water to sharpen your blade, the Ba’al Shem Tov used his own tears.”

– Chasidic folktale

(From Hazon's ​Food for Thought, 28)

27 כז

A Kavanah for Fair Trade Chocolate and Coffee, Rabbi David Baum

This piece of chocolate that I hold in my hand is much more than what it seems. As I hold it, smell it and feel the texture of it, I know that I have helped to bring the workers who planted and picked the cocoa beans that made this chocolate a chance to create their own lives; to be self-sufficient.[1] The taste of this chocolate is the taste of freedom and dignity. Holy Blessed One, I ask that you help me realize my potential as a partner in creation with You – that with this small piece of chocolate along with this small bag of coffee, I can help create a more just world, a world where what we ensure that no one is oppressed with the foods we buy and sell.[2]
Baruch Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, She-Hakol Nihyeh Bidvaro
28 כח

Part 4. An Introduction to Environmental Justice

29 כט

An Introduction to Environmental Justice

Research demonstrates conclusively that those who are economically, racially and politically marginalized suffer disproportionately from environmental harm. A study in the late 1980s by the United Church of Christ’s Commission on Racial Justice showed the following:

  • Communities that are poor and predominantly non-white are significantly more likely to have toxic waste sites than wealthier, whiter communities.
  • Toxic sites in these poor, minority communities take longer to be classified as toxic sites by regulatory authorities. This classification is the first step required to begin a clean-up process.
  • The methods chosen for clean-up and remediation in poor, minority communities are routinely less thorough, less expensive methods than those used in wealthier, whiter communities.
  • When companies are penalized for polluting, fines are routinely higher for companies caught polluting in wealthier, whiter communities than for companies caught polluting in poorer, minority communities.

The environmental justice movement was born in the 1980’s when a landfill company tried to locate a dumpsite for highly toxic PCB’s in a county in rural, eastern North Carolina. Community members, clergy, and area activists protested the siting of this facility, which they feared would cause harm to the health of community members. Despite their protests, numerous arrests and national publicity, the dump was sited. However, the environmental justice movement was born.

The environmental justice movement defines the “environment” differently from many environmentalists or from the common image in peoples’ minds when they hear the term “environment.” Here is a definition of the “environment” from an environmental justice perspective:

“The environment is everywhere – where we work, live, study, play and pray.”

Environmental Justice Movement leaders also assert that in addition to a right to a clean, healthy environment, society’s most vulnerable have a right to participate meaningfully in the creation of environmental policies that impact their well-being, and that society should follow the “Precautionary Principle” when it comes to environmental decision-making – seeking first to avoid causing harm through human commercial/industrial activity.

Definition of Environmental Justice:

“The equitable distribution of environmental risks and benefits; fair and meaningful participation in environmental decision-making; recognition of community ways of life, local knowledge, and cultural difference; and the capability of communities and individuals to function and flourish in society.”

(Schlosberg, David. (2007) Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature. Oxford University Press)

30 ל
(יח) שֹׁפְטִ֣ים וְשֹֽׁטְרִ֗ים תִּֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יי אֱלֹקֶ֛יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ לִשְׁבָטֶ֑יךָ וְשָׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶֽדֶק׃ (יט) לֹא־תַטֶּ֣ה מִשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹ֥א תַכִּ֖יר פָּנִ֑ים וְלֹא־תִקַּ֣ח שֹׁ֔חַד כִּ֣י הַשֹּׁ֗חַד יְעַוֵּר֙ עֵינֵ֣י חֲכָמִ֔ים וִֽיסַלֵּ֖ף דִּבְרֵ֥י צַדִּיקִֽם׃ (כ) צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף לְמַ֤עַן תִּֽחְיֶה֙ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ֣ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יי אֱלֹקֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ (ס)

(18) You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice. (19) You shall not judge unfairly: you shall show no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just. (20) Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

31 לא
(כ) וְגֵ֥ר לֹא־תוֹנֶ֖ה וְלֹ֣א תִלְחָצֶ֑נּוּ כִּֽי־גֵרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (כא) כָּל־אַלְמָנָ֥ה וְיָת֖וֹם לֹ֥א תְעַנּֽוּן׃ (כב) אִם־עַנֵּ֥ה תְעַנֶּ֖ה אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י אִם־צָעֹ֤ק יִצְעַק֙ אֵלַ֔י שָׁמֹ֥עַ אֶשְׁמַ֖ע צַעֲקָתֽוֹ׃ (כג) וְחָרָ֣ה אַפִּ֔י וְהָרַגְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם בֶּחָ֑רֶב וְהָי֤וּ נְשֵׁיכֶם֙ אַלְמָנ֔וֹת וּבְנֵיכֶ֖ם יְתֹמִֽים׃ (פ) (כד) אִם־כֶּ֣סֶף ׀ תַּלְוֶ֣ה אֶת־עַמִּ֗י אֶת־הֶֽעָנִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹא־תִהְיֶ֥ה ל֖וֹ כְּנֹשֶׁ֑ה לֹֽא־תְשִׂימ֥וּן עָלָ֖יו נֶֽשֶׁךְ׃ (כה) אִם־חָבֹ֥ל תַּחְבֹּ֖ל שַׂלְמַ֣ת רֵעֶ֑ךָ עַד־בֹּ֥א הַשֶּׁ֖מֶשׁ תְּשִׁיבֶ֥נּוּ לֽוֹ׃ (כו) כִּ֣י הִ֤וא כסותה [כְסוּתוֹ֙] לְבַדָּ֔הּ הִ֥וא שִׂמְלָת֖וֹ לְעֹר֑וֹ בַּמֶּ֣ה יִשְׁכָּ֔ב וְהָיָה֙ כִּֽי־יִצְעַ֣ק אֵלַ֔י וְשָׁמַעְתִּ֖י כִּֽי־חַנּ֥וּן אָֽנִי׃ (ס)
(20) You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (21) You shall not ill-treat any widow or orphan. (22) If you do mistreat them, I will heed their outcry as soon as they cry out to Me, (23) and My anger shall blaze forth and I will put you to the sword, and your own wives shall become widows and your children orphans. (24) If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them. (25) If you take your neighbor’s garment in pledge, you must return it to him before the sun sets; (26) it is his only clothing, the sole covering for his skin. In what else shall he sleep? Therefore, if he cries out to Me, I will pay heed, for I am compassionate.
32 לב

(ט) וּֽבְקֻצְרְכֶם֙ אֶת־קְצִ֣יר אַרְצְכֶ֔ם לֹ֧א תְכַלֶּ֛ה פְּאַ֥ת שָׂדְךָ֖ לִקְצֹ֑ר וְלֶ֥קֶט קְצִֽירְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תְלַקֵּֽט׃ (י) וְכַרְמְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תְעוֹלֵ֔ל וּפֶ֥רֶט כַּרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֣א תְלַקֵּ֑ט לֶֽעָנִ֤י וְלַגֵּר֙ תַּעֲזֹ֣ב אֹתָ֔ם אֲנִ֖י יי אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ (יג) לֹֽא־תַעֲשֹׁ֥ק אֶת־רֵֽעֲךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א תִגְזֹ֑ל לֹֽא־תָלִ֞ין פְּעֻלַּ֥ת שָׂכִ֛יר אִתְּךָ֖ עַד־בֹּֽקֶר׃ (טו) לֹא־תַעֲשׂ֥וּ עָ֙וֶל֙ בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹא־תִשָּׂ֣א פְנֵי־דָ֔ל וְלֹ֥א תֶהְדַּ֖ר פְּנֵ֣י גָד֑וֹל בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ׃

(9) When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. (10) You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the LORD am your God. (13) You shall not defraud your fellow. You shall not commit robbery. The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning. (15) You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kinsman fairly.

33 לג

social justice sources in Judaism

Added by: Nachshon Carmi
34 לד

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, The Jewish Way, p. 34-36:

The overwhelming majority of the earth’s human beings have always lived in poverty and under oppression, their lives punctuated by sickness and suffering. Few escape damaging illness; even fewer dodge the ravages of old age (except by untimely death); no one, to date, has avoided death. Most of the nameless and faceless billions know the world as indifferent or hostile. Statistically speaking, human life is of little value. The downtrodden and the poor accept their fate as destined; the powerful and the successful accept good fortune as their due. Power, rather than justice, seems always to rule. Jewish religion affirms otherwise: Judaism insists that history and the social-economic-political reality in which people live will eventually be perfected; much of what passes for the norm of human existence is really a deviation from the ultimate reality. How do we know this? From an actual event in history—the Exodus. Mark the paradox: The very idea that much of history—present reality itself—is a deviation from the ideal and that redemption will overcome this divergence comes from a historic experience. That experience was the liberation of the Hebrew slaves, the Exodus from Egypt…The freeing of the slaves testified that human beings are meant to be free. History will not be finished until all are free…

No, the Exodus did not destroy evil in the world. What it did was set up an alternative conception of life. Were it not for the Exodus, humans would have reconciled themselves to the evils that exist in the world. The Exodus establishes the dream of perfection and thereby creates the tension that must exist until reality is redeemed…Where does Israel get the strength—the chutzpah—to go on believing in redemption in a world that knows mass hunger and political exile and boat people? How can Jews testify to hope and human value when they have been continuously persecuted, hated, dispelled, destroyed? Out of the memories of the Exodus.

35 לה

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b

All who can protest against [something wrong that] one of their family [is doing] and does not protest, is held accountable for their family.[All who can protest against something wrong that] a citizen of their city [is doing and does not protest], is held accountable for all citizens of the city.[All who can protest against something wrong that is being done] in the whole world, is accountable together with all citizens of the world.

36 לו

Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma 50b:

Our Sages taught: …A certain man was removing stones from his domain to the public domain when a hasid, a pious man, found him doing so and said to him: "Fool! Why do you remove stones from a domain that is not yours to a domain which is yours!?" The man laughed at him. A while later, the man had to sell his field and was walking on the same public domain [where he had put the stones] and he stumbled over those very same stones. He said to himself: "The pious man was right when he said to me: 'Why do you remove stones from a domain that is not yours to a domain which is yours?' "

37 לז

Mission Statement of the Ecokosher Network (http://www.ecojew.com/ecokashrut/index.html):

Kashrut teaches us that consumption can be a source of holy connection to the physical world. We can use and abuse our resources to the detriment of our bodies and souls, or we can form a conscious and responsible appreciation of the things that sustain us allow us to draw closer to our creator.

The products we use need to be healthy to ourselves and to the world. The goal of the ecokosher network is to promote awareness that the foods we eat have an impact on our health and the health of our communities and environment. We seek to promote products and models of development that take these values into account.

Our concern for health, social justice, and environmental sustainability is based on the mitzvot (commandments) that encourage actions towards these ideals.

Kosher laws teach that eating is a sanctified act, subject to restrictions in order to maintain spiritual holiness. This principle can be used to guide all of our consumption to accord with social and environmental values. The practice of Eco Kashrut helps sanctify consumption, so we can elevate the physical world by acknowledging the holiness of our relationship to God's world.

The mitzvah of shmirat haguf (safeguard the body) encourages healthy eating and an awareness of the food we eat. This includes seeking food that was grown organically, without pesticides, and avoiding food additives, preservatives, coloring agents and artificial flavors. It also includes learning about what foods are healthiest, and choosing a plant-based diet of foods that are fresh, organic, and nutritious.

Workers should be treated respectfully and compensated fairly for their labor. The health and well-being of others should not be compromised in the process of providing us with our sustenance. This is especially relevant as globalized food production separates us from the process of production of our food.

The mitzvah of bal tashchit warns us not to create waste. With limited resources on this planet it is important to remember that everything has a unique place in Creation. We should choose products that have less wasteful packaging and reuse and recycle whatever we can. Businesses that recycle and use recycled products at their facilities generate less wastes.

Tzaar baalei chayyim counsels us to not cause suffering to other beings. Other species should not be deprived of their habitat, or poisoned with our wastes. When animals are raised for food they should be treated in a humane manner.

38 לח
צריכה אני בין לא אמרה צריכה אני אין מחללין עליה את השבת רב אשי מתני הכי מר זוטרא מתני הכי אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל חיה כל זמן שהקבר פתוח בין אמרה צריכה אני ובין אמרה אין צריכה אני מחללין עליה את השבת נסתם הקבר אמרה צריכה אני מחללין עליה את השבת לא אמרה צריכה אני אין מחללין עליה את השבת א"ל רבינא למרימר מר זוטרא מתני לקולא ורב אשי מתני לחומרא הלכתא כמאן א"ל הלכה כמר זוטרא ספק נפשות להקל מאימתי פתיחת הקבר אמר אביי משעה שתשב על המשבר רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע אמר משעה שהדם שותת ויורד ואמרי לה משעה שחברותיה נושאות אותה באגפיה עד מתי פתיחת הקבר אמר אביי שלשה ימים רבא אמר משמיה דרב יהודה שבעה ואמרי לה שלשים אמרי נהרדעי חיה ג' ז' ול' ג' בין אמרה צריכה אני ובין אמרה לא צריכה אני מחללין עליה את השבת ז' אמרה צריכה אני מחללין עליה את השבת אמרה לא צריכה אני אין מחללין עליה את השבת ל' אפי' אמרה צריכה אני אין מחללין עליה את השבת אבל עושין ע"י ארמאי כדרב עולא בריה דרב עילאי דאמר כל צרכי חולה נעשין ע"י ארמאי בשבת וכדרב המנונא דאמר רב המנונא דבר שאין בו סכנה אומר לנכרי ועושה אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל לחיה ל' יום למאי הלכתא אמרי נהרדעי לטבילה אמר רבא לא אמרן אלא שאין בעלה עמה אבל בעלה עמה בעלה מחממה כי הא דברתיה דרב חסדא טבלה בגו תלתין יומין שלא בפני בעלה ואצטניאת ואמטוי לערסה בתריה דרבא לפומבדיתא אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל עושין מדורה לחיה בשבת (בימות הגשמים) סבור מינה לחיה אין לחולה לא בימות הגשמים אין בימות החמה לא (ולא היא ל"ש חיה ול"ש חולה ל"ש בימות הגשמים ול"ש בימות החמה מדאתמר) אמר רב חייא בר אבין אמר שמואל הקיז דם ונצטנן עושין לו מדורה אפי' בתקופת תמוז שמואל צלחו ליה תכתקא דשאגא רב יהודה צלחו ליה פתורא דיונה לרבה צלחו ליה שרשיפא וא"ל אביי לרבה והא קעבר מר משום (דברים כ, יט) בל תשחית א"ל בל תשחית דגופאי עדיף לי אמר רב יהודה אמר רב לעולם ימכור אדם קורות ביתו ויקח מנעלים לרגליו הקיז דם ואין לו מה יאכל ימכור מנעלים שברגליו ויספיק מהן צרכי סעודה מאי צרכי סעודה רב אמר בשר ושמואל אמר יין רב אמר בשר נפשא חלף נפשא ושמואל אמר יין סומקא חלף סומקא: (סימן שנמסר) שמואל ביומא דעבד מילתא עבדי ליה תבשילא דטחלי ר' יוחנן שתי עד דנפיק תיהיא מאוניה ורב נחמן שתי עד דקפי טחליה רב יוסף שתי עד דנפיק מריבדא דכוסילתא רבא מהדר אחמרא בר תלתא טרפי אמר להו רב נחמן בר יצחק לרבנן במטותא מינייכו ביומא דהקזה אמרו לביתייכו נחמן אקלע לגבן וכולהו אערומי אסירי בר מהאי ערמה דשרי מאן דעביד מילתא ולא אפשר ליה לישקול זוזא מכא וליזיל לשב חנותא עד דטעים שיעור רביעתא ואי לא ליכול שב תמרי אוכמתא ולישוף מישחא בצידעיה וניגני בשמשא אבלט אשכחיה לשמואל דגני בשמשא א"ל חכימא דיהודאי בישא מי הוי טבא א"ל יומא דהקזה הוא ולא היא אלא איכא יומא דמעלי בה שמשא בכוליה שתא יומא דנפלה ביה תקופת תמוז וסבר לא איגלי ליה: (היקיל ברוח טעמא שהה סימן) רב ושמואל דאמרי תרוייהו כל המקיל בסעודת הקזת דם מקילין לו מזונותיו מן השמים ואומרים הוא על חייו לא חס אני אחוס עליו רב ושמואל דאמרי תרוייהו האי מאן דעביד מילתא לא ליתיב היכא דכריך זיקא דילמא שפי ליה אומנא ומוקים ליה ארביעתא ואתי זיקא ושאיף מיניה ואתי לידי סכנה שמואל הוה רגיל ועבד מילתא בביתא דשב לביניא ואריחא יומא חדא עבד וארגיש בנפשיה בדק וחסר חד אריחא רב ושמואל דאמרי תרוייהו האי מאן דעביד מילתא ליטעום מידי והדר ליפוק דאי לא טעים מידי אי פגע בשכבא ירקא אפיה אי פגע במאן דקטל נפשא מית אי פגע
I need Shabbat to be desecrated, or whether she did not say: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one does not desecrate Shabbat for her. That is how Rav Ashi taught it. This is how Mar Zutra taught it: Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: With regard to a woman in childbirth, as long as the womb is open, whether she said: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, or whether she did not say: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one desecrates Shabbat for her. Once the womb closed after birth, if she said: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one desecrates Shabbat for her. If she did not say: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, and all the more so if she said: I do not need Shabbat to be desecrated, one does not desecrate Shabbat for her. Ravina said to Mareimar: Since Mar Zutra teaches leniently, and Rav Ashi teaches stringently, in accordance with whose opinion is the halakha? Mareimar said to him: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Mar Zutra, based on the following principle: In cases of uncertainty concerning a life-threatening situation, the halakha is lenient. With regard to the matter of the open womb, the Gemara asks: From when is it considered that the opening of the womb has begun? Abaye says: It begins from when the woman sits on the travailing chair. Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, said: It begins from when the blood flows and descends; and others say when her friends need to carry her by her arms, as she can no longer walk on her own. The Gemara asks: Until when does the opening of the womb continue? Abaye said: It lasts three days. Rava said in the name of Rav Yehuda: It lasts seven days. And others say: It lasts thirty days. The Sages of Neharde’a say: For a woman in childbirth, there are halakhic distinctions between three, seven, and thirty days after she gives birth. The Gemara elaborates: During the first three days after birth, whether she said: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, or whether she did not say: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one desecrates Shabbat for her. Between three and seven days after birth, if she said: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one desecrates Shabbat for her. If she did not say: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one does not desecrate Shabbat for her. Between seven and thirty days after birth, even if she said: I need Shabbat to be desecrated, one does not desecrate Shabbat for her; however, we perform all necessary prohibited labors by means of a gentile. This ruling is in accordance with the statement of Rav Ulla, son of Rav Ilai, who said: All needs of a sick person whose life is not in danger are performed by means of a gentile on Shabbat. And this ruling is in accordance with the opinion of Rav Hamnuna, as Rav Hamnuna says: With regard to a matter in which there is no danger, but only potential illness, one says to the gentile to perform the act, and the gentile performs the act. Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: For a woman in childbirth, there is a halakha of thirty days. The Gemara asks: With regard to what halakha was this stated? The Sages of Neharde’a say: It was stated with regard to the halakha of immersion. A woman does not purify herself through ritual immersion within thirty days of giving birth because she is in a weakened state and susceptible to catching cold. Rava said: We say that the ruling that she does not immerse during that period applies only when her husband is not with her. However, if her husband is with her, her husband warms her by engaging in relations with her, and she is not susceptible to catching cold, as is illustrated in this incident involving the daughter of Rav Ḥisda, Rava’s wife. She immersed within thirty days of giving birth, not in the presence of her husband, and caught cold, and afterward they brought her funeral bier after Rava to Pumbedita. Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: One builds a fire for a woman in childbirth on Shabbat during the rainy season. The Sages thought to infer from here the following: For a woman in childbirth, yes, one builds a fire; for sick people, no, he does not build a fire. In the rainy season, yes, one builds a fire; in the summer, no, he does not build a fire. And the Gemara concludes: That is not the case. There is no difference between a woman in childbirth and a sick person, and there is no difference between the rainy season and the summer. In all of these cases one may build a fire on Shabbat. This conclusion emerges from that which was stated: Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Shmuel said: With regard to one who let blood and caught cold, one makes a fire for him even during the season of Tammuz, i.e., the summer. Failure to do so could result in serious illness. The Gemara relates that after Shmuel underwent bloodletting, they broke for him a wooden armchair made of teak [shaga] to build a fire. Similarly, for the sake of Rav Yehuda they broke a wooden table made of ebony [yavna], and for Rabba they broke a bench. They needed to build a fire due to the potential danger to Rabba. Since they could not find firewood, they kindled the fire with the furniture. And Abaye said to Rabba: In breaking the bench, didn’t the Master violate the prohibition, “Do not destroy” (Deuteronomy 20:19)? It is prohibited to destroy objects of value. Rabba said to him: Do not destroy also with regard to destruction of my body. Preventing illness and danger is preferable to me. With regard to the danger of bloodletting, the Gemara cites that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: One should always sell the beams of his house and purchase shoes for his feet with the proceeds, as shoes protect him from stepping on obstacles and from catching cold. If he let blood and has nothing to eat after the bloodletting, he should even sell the shoes on his feet, and from the proceeds provide the needs of a meal. After bloodletting, a meal is more crucial to one’s well-being than shoes are. The Gemara asks: What are these special needs of a meal? Rav said: It is referring to meat. And Shmuel said: It is referring to wine. The Gemara explains: Rav says: It is referring to meat because the soul replaces the soul, i.e., the meat replenishes the person’s strength. And Shmuel said: It is referring to wine because the red replaces the red, i.e., red wine substitutes for red blood. A mnemonic for the names of the Sages cited in the following discussion is the word shenimsar; shin for Shmuel, nun for Rabbi Yoḥanan, mem for Rav Naḥman, samekh for Rav Yosef, reish for Rava. The Gemara relates the following about bloodletting and drinking wine. Shmuel, on the day on which he would perform the practice of bloodletting, they would prepare for him a dish of cooked spleen. Rabbi Yoḥanan would drink wine after bloodletting until the odor emerged from his ears. And Rav Naḥman would drink until his spleen floated in wine. Rav Yosef would drink until the wine would emerge from the bloodletting incision. Rava would search for wine that was sufficiently aged such that three leaves had already grown over three years on the vine from which the grapes were picked (Rashash). Rav Naḥman bar Yitzhak said to the Sages: I beg of you, on the day that you undergo bloodletting, tell your households, your wives: Naḥman bar Yitzhak happened to come to visit us. Due to the visit of the important guest, the women will prepare a large meal. The husbands will eat well, recover from the lost blood, and avoid endangering themselves. And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzhak said: All types of artifice that come at the expense of others are prohibited except for this artifice, which is permitted. One who performed the practice of bloodletting and it is not possible for him to purchase food due to lack of means, let him take a worn zuz coin and go to seven stores. In each store, he tastes the wine as one who seeks to buy wine would. After tasting, he hands the zuz to the storekeeper, who will not accept it because it is worn. He then proceeds to do the same in all the stores until he has tasted the measure of a quarter of a log of wine. And if doing so is not possible, let him eat seven black dates and smear oil on his temple and lie in the sun. The Gemara relates: The gentile scholar, Ablat, found Shmuel lying in the sun. Ablat said to Shmuel: Wise man of the Jews, a matter that is evil, can it become good? Are there any circumstances in which the heat of the sun, which is harmful, can be beneficial? Shmuel said to him: It happens on a day of bloodletting, for which the heat of the sun is beneficial. The Gemara comments: And actually, that is not what occurred. Rather, there is a day on which the sun is beneficial more than the entire year, and that is the day on which the Tammuz solstice, the longest day of the year, occurs. And Shmuel thought: I will not reveal this remedy to him. Indifferent, in wind, taste, waited are a mnemonic for the following matters. It was Rav and Shmuel who both said: Anyone who is indifferent and not vigilant with regard to the meal eaten after bloodletting, they are indifferent with regard to providing his food from the Heavens. And they say in the name of Heaven: He took no pity on his life, will I take pity on him? Similarly, it was Rav and Shmuel who both said: One who performs the practice of bloodletting should not sit where the wind is blowing, due to the concern that perhaps the blood letter let too much blood from him and established the amount of remaining blood at a quarter of a log. And there is concern the wind will come and draw out a little more blood from him, and he will be endangered. The Gemara relates: Shmuel would customarily perform the practice of bloodletting in a house whose walls were seven and a half bricks thick. One day he performed bloodletting and felt himself weakened. He examined and discovered that one half-brick was lacking from the thickness of the walls. The resultant chill caused his weakness. It was Rav and Shmuel who both said: One who performs the practice of bloodletting should taste something and then go outside, since if he does not taste anything, if he encounters a corpse, his face will turn green. If he encounters one who killed a person, he will die. If he encounters
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