Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ecology& The Jewish Spirit- Great Book!

I have been reading this book slowly and lately I have been devouring it. So I thought I share a few excerpts to wet your appetite.

Shabbat and the Sabbatical year-

"The Sabbath is a day of harmony and peace, peace between man and man, peace within man, and peace with all things. On the seventh day man has no right to tamper with G-d's world, to change the state of physical things. It is a day of rest for man and animal alike."
-Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath

"As we turn to the environmental implications of Shabbat, we should note that its significance is not limited to the Jewish people. Although Shabbat is characterized by a host of many uniquely Jewish observances, still retains a level of universal importance. The rabbis remind us that Shabbat was given to Israel and to all the other nations of the world. Unlike other Jewish holidays, Shabbat precedes the existence of the Jewish people. It is part of the very fabric of creation. In our broken world, diverse faiths and peopls observe it differently. But we continue to work and pray for the speedy arrival of the day when we might speak of a world repaired and whole, sharing one Shabbat together.
-Edited and with introductions by EllenBernstein, Ecology& The Jewish Spirit

Shabbat and the Enviroment Today

"Mordeci Kaplan and Abraham joshua Heschel, writing in the mid 1900's, sound Prophetic today, for the enviromental crisis has worsened as the new century begins. Both men surely would have recognized that the current state of the earth-acid rain, global warming, holes in the ozone, filthy air and water, the destruction of the rain forests and overflowing landfills-makes the need for Shabbat even more urgent than it was when their books were first published. Shabbat, a day that sets realistic limits on our consumption, has never been more vital than it is now. We need its commanding voice, which reminds us to walk lightly upon our planet. By revitalizing Shabbat, the jewish people can help lead the way for all people toward increased ecological awareness. We can set an example by avoiding enviormentally harmful types of work traditionally prohibited on Shabbat(such as driving and the unrestricted use of electricity)and creating new Shabbat observances(such as eating vegeterian meals, conserving water, and reducing waste).

Another way to celebrate Shabbat is to spend time in nature. After all, it is not enough to simply refrain from work; Shabbat also calls for study, prayer, and oneg-joy. G-d commands us to make the day a delight. By enjoying a walk in the woods, we fulfill this aspect of Shabbat and refresh ourselves for the coming week.
There is good jewish precendent for this practice. The Talmud tells of Rabbi Hannina, who would wrap himself in a robe on the eve of each Shabbat and say, "Come, let us go out and greet the Sabbath Queen! Later, in the sixteenth century, the Kabbalists of Safed would follow his example, gathering outside just before sunset every Friday evening to welcome Shabbat. They taught: "Shabbat is recieved in the field. You must stand facing west, presumably in a high place, and there must be an open space behing you."
The rabbis and the mystices recognized that we can learn to love Creation by spending time in nature. Shabbat is the perfect time for this.

-Edited and with introductions by EllenBernstein, Ecology& The Jewish Spirit

(This book is a great book I highly reccomend it)

Lady Lavender

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