As industrialized nations produce more and more food each year, the earth itself is in peril, for true abundance requires rest.
Shmita is the Torah’s prescription for environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Today, climate change is the biggest threat to sustainability.
A reflection on shmita a frame for organizing labor
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.