Monday, September 26, 2011

Earth Etude for 29 Elul

Return Again, return again, return to the home of your soul.

A lot of Re’s come to play as we move into the High Holiday season.

Repentance. Responsibility. Retribution. Renewal.

My encounter with Bill McKibbon’s Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, has made me think of a different genre of Re’s :

Reduce. Recycle. Reuse. We all know the routine by now. As good citizens we intend to take responsibility as we try to navigate the impending environmental crisis.

But intentions don’t always jive with reality. That is why, of all the issues I could address in this year’s sermons, nothing seems as reasonable as the environment.

Recycling those plastic bottles is not enough, We must redirect our priorities and instead of opting for the convenience of a handy bottled drink; buy by the jug, pour a drink and wash out the mug!

Our hope lies in renewable sources of energy, McKibbon reminds us. Our job lies in reshaping societal values, realigning our priorities, because if we don’t we won’t be able to recover.

There is a verse in the 2nd paragraph of the Shema that used to disturb me tremendously:

“Take care lest you be tempted to stray, and to worship false god For then Adonai’s wrath will be directed against you. God will close the heavens and hold back the rains; the earth will not yield it’s produce. You will soon disappear from the good land which has been given to you.” (Deut 11:15) I am not one to believe that ill fortune is a ‘punishment from God. But reading this passage through he lens of today’s Re’s … we have strayed, we have abused the good earth which was entrusted to us, and now we are reaping the results as we read ever more frequent in the news, of unnatural natural disasters.

This is the year to rededicate ourselves to this cause, not just with words and lip service, but with real action.

Suri Levow Krieger is the Rabbi of Kerhonkson Synagogue, in upstate New York, and Chavurat Bet Chai in Westchester, NY. She also teaches at University of Bridgeport and Sacred heart University. Her mission includes building bridges between communities and peoples of different faiths by learning, singing and doing together. It includes pushing the creative Jewish envelop, fostering alternative liturgy with spiritual resonance, challenging the traditional text until it yields current meaning, and working proactively towards tikun olam.

No comments:

Post a Comment