Let the Earth Teach You Torah

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9780963284815: Let the Earth Teach You Torah

When the natural world is traumatized by the tears in the web of life, when the links within societal and cultural systems are severed, things fall apart.

In the Jewish idiom, this brokenness is referred to as shvirat ha keylim. shattering of the vessel. In the beginning the world was one whole vessel. Then the vessel shattered into millions of pieces. It is our task I'taken (to fix) the vessel. This book is part of such a tikkun (an act of fixing). It is an attempt to bring a sense of beauty to the study of the natural world and Jewish texts. It is the product of a dream in which science, religion, ethics, politics and history are bound up into one, just as all the creatures and elements are bound up into one. It is an effort to make a whole of parts that have too long been separated.

At the heart of the environmental crisis is a skewed relationship between humans and the material world. And at the heart of Judaism are teachings on how to live in the material world. The essence of Jewish teachings is a principle called mikadesh hol, making the secular sacred. It is a principle that invites us to look at the material world, really see it and then transform it. We are guided in this process by our obligation to say brachot, praising God for the most ordinary events of daily life, and through the laws of kashrut (kosher) which transform the basic necessity of eating into a sacrament. We are even encouraged to make an abstract concept like time holy by setting aside one day a week to honor God and creation.

Ultimately, everything is sacred. It is a question, then, of seeing, and acting out of respect, humility and love for God and all creation. As is implicit in the title and message of this book: Let the Earth Teach You Torah. Let your reverence for it guide you in all your ways.

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Bernstein, Ellen, Fink, Dan
Published by Shomrei Adamah (1992)
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Bernstein, Ellen; Fink, Dan
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ISBN 10: 0963284819 ISBN 13: 9780963284815
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