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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another "In The Beginning," The Earth is For Human Use"

Genesis Chapter 1 בְּרֵאשִׁית
כח וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם, אֱלֹהִים, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ; וּרְדוּ בִּדְגַת הַיָּם, וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבְכָל-חַיָּה, הָרֹמֶשֶׂת עַל-הָאָרֶץ. 28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'
It's a Jewish custom to read through the entire Torah, first five books of the Bible, every year.  They are divided into weekly portions, Parshot Shavua.  The latest/newest Jewish Year has just begun, and yesterday, Shabbat/Saturday we started the cycle again.

I've been reading, studying the Torah for decades, and each time I start/study it seems new.  No, it's not that I'm that senile, it's that it is so rich with lessons, meanings and implications.

Davka, the neighbor who gave yesterday's class is starting to build a house right across the street from ours.  They've apologized many times for "spoiling the view," and each time I tell them that seeing more neighbors and homes is the best view, not an empty valley.  I'm sincere.  I really do enjoy seeing our Holy Land populated by Jews.

Taking over, building, populating the Land, all of the land all over the world is what G-d demands of us.
וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ
God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it;
This commandment predates the separation of the male and female in Adam, the first human being. The part of the commandment always publicized is that of פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ procreation, having children, but in that same phrase/sentence is the commandment to use the land, the earth for our needs.  We do not need to see empty land, no matter how beautiful it may look.  Asking people not to build, or to build under the height of the sidewalk goes against G-d's instructions to the first human being.

The earth is for our use, to build and farm it.

Have a wonderful and productive year.


Shy Guy said...

I am far from being a tree hugging environmentalist but don't forget the words "לעבדה ולשמרה".

We need to build but we also need to care and maintain the land. Israel has an absolutely cruddy record at caring for the environment and too many Israelis don't give a darn that they throw their garbage out of their car windows.

Peace, Quiet, Joy said...

The Land is to be blessed first and foremost. Throwing garbage, polluting waterways, uprooting trees, poisoning the earth with pesticides and toxins, defiling the Land by shedding innocent blood is probably the main reason why the Land is being taken away from us. Simply - we have lost our connection to it in all our ways 24/7/365. This connection must be re-established if we are ever to be deserving of it. No garbage on sacred Land. No poisoning of our water ways and standing up for Tzedek in this respect. Do not stand idle witnessing this destruction.

palinfan said...

So why don't you build and farm in Alaska? there is soooo much empty space there!

Shy Guy said...

Now, PQJ here, I bet has hugged a lotta trees! :)

As for "palinfan", G-d didn't obligate the Jewish nation to build and farm in Alaska nor in any of the other 57 states. :)

Peace, Quiet, Joy said...

Bamidbar - Numbers
Chapter 35:33-34

So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood, it polluteth the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.

34 And thou shalt not defile the land which ye inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the children of Israel.

Shy Guy said...

PQJ, that's referring to the murder of humans, not the draining of sap from trees.

Peace, Quiet, Joy said...

R. Hanina said: My son Shivhat did not pass away except for having cut down a fig tree before its time. (Talmud Bavli Bava Kamma 91b)

Anonymous said...

So happy to see other Yidden who realize that we have a responsibility to be caretakers of the earth. Yes, we are to build and farm, but it must be done in a responsible manner, with respect for the beautiful Land that Hashem gave us and the future generations that will inherit it.

Shy Guy said...

PQJ, that has nothing to do with the verses you referenced in Bamidbar but has everything to do with Devarim 20:19-20.

Also, try reading what Rabina, Shmuel and R. Chisda said in the very next sentences after R. Chanina's statement.

Moriah said...

I don't think there really is a disagreement that as Jews we must be good caretakers of our holy land. I don't think Shy Guy wants to defile Israel with garbage and pollution. Let's not nitpick. But remember some people just don't give a damn about the land and would just as soon give it away. They don't love the Torah and they don't love the land..

Peace, Quiet, Joy said...

The point is that every thing is Hashem's creation. As we bless with our mouths with words, so must we bless the Land with our eyes and our hearts. For they hold much power - love - it is the preparation for Beit Hamikdash when we behold the Land with love. It cleanses and it purifies, it uplifts and it restores.

How can we take this beautiful and perfect Land given to us by Hashem, created so lovingly by Him for us - Bnei Yisrael and throw garbage on it and pollute it? Destroy His handiwork with our greed and ignorance? How do you expect to HOLD ON to the Land when you do not hold on to it in your heart first and consider it HOLY? Saying the words without FEELING them in your heart is MEANINGLESS.

To live holy, feel holy. Living on the Land is to live WITH the Land in tandem.

And do not take my words - take them from those much more lofty than this mere sapling - http://www.aish.com/tp/i/moha/100217849.html

Shy Guy said...

Moriah, read my first comment carefully. I'm the one who first complained here about the garbage and the lack of environmental concern.

Batya said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Don't get me wrong. "Use" and "abuse" aren't the same at all.

The commandment to Adam was a general one to all of mankind concerning the entire earth.

Keliata said...

I'm not a tree hugger either but I think what people do to the land that G-d gave the world is a tragedy. I can't say if conditions in Israel are worse than any other part of the world.


Not to go political or too OT but a while back I saw a video of Gaza Beach. The waves there are amazing. Israel should really get that land back.

Shy Guy said...

Keli, to the best of my knowledge, the Gazanimals continue to dump massive quantities of raw sewage into the Gazan Mediterranean waters.

Here's a nice leftist B'tselem report to give you an overall picture.

Keliata said...

Good grief. what sort of animal would pollute its own water supply?? They're nuts.

So is the UN and that organization for blaming Israel for not repairing what the Gazans did.

The video I saw must have been old. Either that or the Gazans have no problem swimming in garbage.

Batya said...

keli, terrorist animals, human variety