Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food Challenge Day 5

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Gratitude also makes me think about the Earth. I ate tomato and cheese soup and thought about the tomato plants growing in the soil, fueled by the Sun and watered by the rain, and I thought of the cows that ate the alfalfa and oats and drank the waters of the stream and produced the milk from which the cheese was made. I munched on tropical nuts and thought about the trees they came from and wondered where they might be growing. I savored fresh eggs and thought of the farm not far from my home and of the hens that had produced these eggs pecking in the dust. As I ate, I thought about the wheat in my bread and the water that flows out of my tap. These foods and so many others, I eat them and I eat of the Earth, they connect me to the Earth, the Earth I so love, the Earth that nourishes my spirit and my soul, as well as my body. 

The Earth that is hurting.

Sometimes it seems as if I am feeling the Earth's pain.
Rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans dirtied by runoff from agriculture and cars and other human waste. Carbon from our cars and homes and factories and planes filling the air and changing our climate. Particles we produce entering the air and making us sick. Toxins from our chemical actions poisoning the soil and all that comes forth from it. 

The pictures are stunning, but so very often behind them are unseen contaminants. 

Do we care enough to pay attention? Do we care enough to act? 

Does it make a difference what we do?

All through this week's Torah portion, Chayyeh Sarah, are camels. Camels that carry people. Camels that drink, and drink, and drink. Camels that connect lovers. Camels as symbols.

If the camels in the story matter, then so do the people. And if the people in the stories I read matter, then so must I.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav taught, "If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix. If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal."

Yes. It does matter. It does make a difference. With every bite, it makes a difference. 

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