September 02, 2014 · 7 Elul

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Environmental Health and Jewish Values
The principle of pikuach nefesh — saving human lives above all else — is our greatest moral obligation.

The principle of pikuach nefesh — saving human lives above all else — is our greatest moral obligation. We are commanded to preserve the earth and all its varied life for our own sake and for generations yet unborn. We are taught, "You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16), and to "choose life, that you and your descendants may live" (Dueteronomy 30:20). The protection of human life in Jewish tradition has superseded even the commandments of Yom Kippur, the holiest of all days. In our time, it is our obligation to preserve human life by educating ourselves about the dangers of environmental health risks, and working to prevent them for all humanity.



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