Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day Three: Tiferet b’Chesed


by Rabbi Judy Weiss

Tiferet: compassion, beauty, and balance to achieve loyalty
According to early interpreters of the Bible, the splitting of the Red Sea involved more than one miracle.

Midrash: Legends of the Jews 3:22
"The dividing of the sea was but the first of ten miracles connected with the passage of the Israelites through it. The others were that the waters united in a vault above their heads; twelve paths opened up, one for each of the tribes; the water became as transparent as glass, and each tribe could see the others; the soil underfoot was dry, but it changed to clay when the Egyptians  stepped upon it … Through the brackish water flowed a stream of soft water, at which the Israelites could slake their thirst . .. The sea yielded the Israelites whatever their hearts desired. If a child cried as it lay in the arms of its mother, she needed but to stretch out her hand and pluck an apple or some other fruit and quiet it."

Question: How did midrashic interpreters imagine God ensured that Israel had plenty of strength to cross over? What things did God do to make the trip beautiful?  or aethestically pleasing? or to show compassion?

Climate Change: protection from the Oceans
Today, oceans not only provide us with food, but they also protect us. As the planet warms due to greenhouse gases, the oceans absorbed about 93% of the heat. The steady rise in sea level reflects the on-going warming of the planet. If someone tells you that global warming stopped 15 years ago, or says there has been a hiatus in warming, tell them they misunderstand. Just because air temperatures over land don’t follow a consistently increasing path does not mean global temperatures aren’t still increasing. Most of the increase is seen in ocean temperatures. In effect, the oceans have been working a miracle for us, protecting us from rapid warming over land.

See this video: No slowdown in global warming 


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Actions:  In order to pass climate change legislation, Congress needs a balance of leadership concerned about climate from both Republicans and Democrats. People in Red states have compassion for the environment  and cherish the beauty of the planet too. In fact a recent survey indicates they trust the EPA to protect the environment more than they trust Congress.

Try calling or email friends and relatives who live in Red states. Talk to them about what you have learned. Answer their questions. Ask them to join a local climate change group and schedule a meeting with their Members of Congress to discuss sea level rise. 

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