Do Not Distroy

Bal Tashchit
Do not destroy (Deuteronomy 20:19, Genesis 2:15)

The mitzvah (commandment) of protecting nature is central to ecological concern for the environment. We are commanded to protect the environment, protect all life, and conserve resources. This Mitzvah of the Week has been presented before, but I am offering it again for a specific reason:

This coming Thursday, June 18, Pope Francis will send forth to the world an encyclical he is naming “Laudato Sii: Sulla Cura Della Casa Comune – Praised Be the ONE: Concerning the Care of our Common Home.” The first two words are a quotation from a famous prayer created by St. Francis of Assisi – – the prayer in which he praises the Creator for Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and all the other beings on Earth and in the universe…
In that light, The Shalom Center created a Jewish analogue to the encyclical, a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis. As we prepare to receive the encyclical at noon Roman time on Thursday (6 AM EDT), more than 340 rabbis from every stream of Judaism have signed. The full text of the Rabbinic Letter and a list of signers is at…. (Edited from the message from the Shalom Center, Rabbi Arthur Waskow.)

I signed this letter, and urge you to read its contents and consider what action you can take to fulfill the mitzvah of the week. One consideration: when our outgoing President, Susan Meyers, introduced our Capital Campaign, she explained that part of the money raised would go toward the “greening” of Emeth, including a new roof of “green” energy efficient material and solar voltaic panels. Contributing generously to our campaign will definitely be a positive action toward preserving the environment.