Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day Five: Hod b’Chesed

by Rabbi Judy Weiss

Hod: loyalty based in gratitude and humility

Talmudic Midrash: Megillah 10b The ministering angels wanted to chant their hymns of praise and rejoice when Israel finished crossing the sea, but the Holy One said “The work of my hands is being drowned in the sea, and shall you chant hymns?

Question: To save Israel, God split the sea and then allowed it to crash down again drowning the Pharaoh and his troops. Why would God be sad? If God could foresee that buried plant and animal remains could turn into fossil fuels, be mined and drilled and heat the planet, why didn’t God prevent it? Can our use of fossil fuels make God pleased and regretful at the same time?

Climate Change: the oceans protect us We can be grateful that the oceans have protected us by absorbing much of the carbon dioxide we emitted. However, the ability of the oceans to absorb CO2 is going to decrease as the waters warm, leading to faster increases in atmospheric CO2 and faster warming, and an acceleration in sea level rise. Do you know which areas of the US will be affected by rising seas?

Check this map of US cities that will be sorely affected by rising seas.

Here is an international map of cities to suffer:

Question: If you live inland, do humility and loyalty keep you from rejoicing that rising sea levels won’t hurt you?

Action: Most people read newspapers and blogs that agree with their general outlook. However, it is an act of humility to read a publication with an outlook different from yours, and consider how its viewpoint might be justifiable. Whatever type of newspaper you usually read (liberal, conservative, local, or big city), read a different type. Try to get into the mindset of that new paper, its editor and readers. Write a letter to the editor about climate change every day until you are published.

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