Israel develops recreational adventure sports like rafting the Jordan River... Click here for downloadable pdf.
This lesson looks at our relationship to the land through an ecological lens. What can we learn from the Bible regarding the general obligation of humans to care for the earth vs. their right to exploit it for their benefit? And what obligations, if any, do we have as Jews to care for the natural resources and landscape of the Land of Israel? Today it is common in the west to speak of our species’ obligation to use the land without abusing it, to see our benefiting from the land as conditional upon our respecting it. We tend to associate these ideas of integration of human activity into the cycles of nature as vaguely pagan in origin or in spirit. The question is: in an ecological perspective, what kind of relationship to the land do we find in Jewish sources? How does the modern enterprise of reclaiming and settling the Land of Israel relate to Jewish ecological concepts?