From: Karin Kloosterman, Green Prophet
Published April 18, 2011 08:52 AM

Connecting the Profound: Jewish Passover and the Environment

Tomorrow night the Jewish holiday of Passover begins. The holiday marks the time when the Israelities left Egypt as slaves, and entered the land of Israel (Canaan) as free people.

Today Jews around the world are working vigorously right now to remove each and every last speck of hametz (leaven) in their homes, and most see it as a time to do some spiritual housecleaning as well.


Green Prophet is always looking to religious sources for answering the complex challenges that the world faces today in the green movement. And here in the Middle East, the time is ripe for an environmental revolution too.

Here I dig up an old interview from 2007, on the green connection to Judaism's Passover and the environment. The interview is with Rabbi Yehudah Leo Levi, a physicist, rabbi and author who lives in Jerusalem.

Q: How is Passover connected to the environment?

A: The connection between Passover and the environment is somewhat indirect, but extremely profound. According to the Torah (Jewish tradition), one central purpose of the creation of the human being was to complete the development the world God had created in His wisdom.

The human being was put into the wonderful Garden of Eden, not, primarily, to enjoy its delicious fruits, but rather "to serve it and guard it" (Genesis 2:15). Or, in the words of the Midrash: "When God created Adam, he took him to survey all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: 'See My works, how pleasant and praiseworthy they are... be careful not to spoil and ruin My world. For, if you spoil, there is no one to repair after you" (Qoheleth Rabba 7:13).

In other words, the human being is to be a caretaker, not owner, of the world.

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