October 22, 2014 · 28 Tishrei

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Ecological Kavannah

For the sake of the earth, for the sake of generations to come, and for the sake of all the waters and creatures and plants,

For the sake of all who are hungry, for the sake of thankfulness, and for the sake of our own souls,

May we have the wisdom and courage to protect and restore, and not diminish, the integrity of creation.

May we always open our hearts and our hands to share the bounty of the Earth with all who are in need.

-Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)


Consider the work of God: for who can make straight that which has been made crooked?

Ecclesiastes 7:13


When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: Look at my works! See how beautiful they are, how excellent! Take care not to spoil or destroy My world, for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.

Midrash Rabbah , commentary on Ecclesiastes 7:13


Tithe It All, Yes All
(An adaptation of Deuteronomy 14:22-23, the basis for the Talmudic designation of Tu B'Shvat as the New Year of the Trees.)

"You are to tithe, yes, tithe, all the produce of your seed-sowing, of what comes forth from the field, year after year ..."
Tithe all the fruit of your labors, income, energies, skills, knowledge.
Tithe for My orphaned species whose mother-forests have been chopped down, the isolated stands of Dogwood, the ancient Redwood.
Tithe for My widowed sea bird who can no longer find her nest.
Tithe for My impoverished earth--poisoned, stripped, scarred, dishonored.
Tithe for My impoverished children suffering with asthma who are forced to breathe foul air.
Tithe for the sake of My future tenants.
Tithe it all, yes all, to preserve the field from which it came.
Tithe by working your compost pile, and then watch My amazing worms squiggle in action.
Tithe it by surprising Me with yet greater mileage in your vehicles, that I may kvell in your ingenuity.
Tithe by bicycling or taking the train to work, and then notice My trees swaying in the wind.
Tithe it by bragging about the post consumer content of your paper, rather than its cranberry or pumpkin color.
Tithe by using less, by doing with less.
Tithe it all, "in order that you may learn to hold the Eternal, your God, in awe, all the days.”
-Dr. Barak Gale, COEJL


A Tu B'Shvat Prayer for Creation

Source of Creation and Life of the Universe, we gather together on Tu B'Shvat, as Jews of conscience, with a deep spiritual bond to your natural wonders, to affirm and preserve creation.

We are grateful for creation in all its majesty: the ever-flowing waters, the azure blue skies, the complex life of Earth's forests, the myriad of lifeforms--amoebae and falcon, black footed ferret and wild turkey, human being and soaring eagle.

The life of all creatures and our own lives are One, profoundly dependent upon each other.

We call our ancient scroll of wisdom, the Torah, an eytz chaim, a tree of life, for it, like the Earth's great forests, sustains us. Torah teaches us that creation, in its great diversity, is harmoniously interconnected. Like the trees, we too need strong and deep roots for nourishment.

The uplifted branches of trees point to our future. God let us be strong, as strong as ancient trees. The Psalmist was right when he said, "like a tree planted by the waters, we shall not be moved."

We are grateful for the life we are lent. We pledge to lift up our voices both in praise of You and in defense of Your Creation.

-Rabbi Warren G. Stone, COEJL


Emperor Hadrian saw an old man cutting down shrubs in order to plant saplings. He said to him, “Old man! What is your age?” He answered, “One hundred.” “You are 100 years old and you stand here cutting down trees in order to plant saplings? Do you think you will eat of their fruits?” He replied, “If I am worthy, I shall eat. If not, just as my parents toiled for me, so shall I toil for my children.”Kohelet Rabbah



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