In this 3-part series, Jeremy Benstein and Shira Hecht-Koller from 929 and Shamu Sadeh of Hazon discuss how Jewish tradition frames the human relationship with the natural world, using texts from the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic stories.
Completely redesigned with the user experience in mind, many additional sources, and more thorough commentary and explanations; the updated Shmita Sourcebook is designed to encourage readers to think critically about Shmita, its values, challenges, and opportunities, and how we might apply the Shmita tradition in a modern context to support building healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities today. The updated Sourcebook draws on a range of texts from within Jewish tradition, tracing the development and evolution of Shmita from biblical, rabbinic, historical, and contemporary perspectives. This comprehensive, accessible sourcebook is well-suited for individual, partnered, and group study, with guiding text and discussion questions to enhance your learning, regardless of educational background. The Hazon Shmita Sourcebook offers a holistic understanding of Shmita, from the depth of Jewish tradition to the most pressing issues of our time.
Shmita is the Torah’s prescription for environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Today, climate change is the biggest threat to sustainability.
Join Rabbis Avram Reisner and Nina Beth Cardin to learn about the most important mitzvah you never heard of: yishuv ha-olam, the command to sustain the world. Underlying many of the 613 commandments is the call to sustain a healthy, regenerative world. This is the imperative of yishuv ha-olam – establishing and supporting a livable world. Yishuv ha-olam is a call from our tradition that speaks to the urgency of the moment we find ourselves in today. We will explore texts that teach us about this mitzvah and talk about how we must live out its imperative today.
Theodor Herzl said that if you will it, it is no dream. What our Earth looks like in the next yovel, or jubilee, year will not happen by accident. Whether our Earth continues to heat up or whether we stem the tide isn’t predetermined — it’s actually up to us. While our present is what we make of it, our future, as Herzl taught us, will be what we make it to be. By our next yovel, if we choose, we can let climate change become the biggest problem ever faced in human history, or we can deal with it and assign it to the dustbin of history. The choice is ours.
Just as the Torah is a guidebook on mending the relationships between men and women, sibling and sibling, nation and nation, so too, the Torah contains within it commandments whose aim is to heal the brokenness in humanity’s relationship to the Earth. Shmita, the sabbatical year, comprises a number of the 613 commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah. With today’s environmental challenges, these mitzvot may be more relevant and needed today than at any time in Jewish and world history. Posted as part of Jewcology's "Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment," in partnership with Canfei Nesharim.
Jewish observance of shmita (alternatively spelled shemitah)—the sabbatical year, or seventh (sheviit) year—is changing. Historically rooted in agriculture, modern Jewish environmentalists are seizing upon the long-ignored environmental and social justice (tikkun olam) aspects of shmita as originally described in the five books of Moses, the Torah in the Hebrew Bible, the basis of Jewish law.