As I work to complete the Gateway of Holy Land, I’ve updated my pathway/post on Shemitah (Shmita), the Biblical Sabbatical year. It now appears both in the Gateway of Gardens and the Gateway of Holy Land.
The Torah teaches that every seven years, the land must rest and lie fallow as people and animals live on stored or foraged food, In addition, debts are forgiven. This is called the Shemita or Sabbatical year. It is still observed today in a technical way, but many environmental activists are exploring how it can be relevant to our current ecological crisis. In fact, it’s happening this year! (5782 – from Rosh Hashanah of 2021). Learn more by reading the post and visiting The Shmita Project.
And there’s more: My friend and colleague Rabbi David Seidenberg has generously shared a post that he wrote, “The Ecology of Canaan in the Eyes of Our Ancestors.” The experience of our ancient ancestors has lessons for us today, as we experience the sometimes disastrous “feedback loop” of our human interactions with the environment.
One could say that the purpose of religion, from the Torah’s perspective, was to teach people how to achieve a true symbiosis with the land. This is what it means to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). If the mission of the Torah was to create a truly sustainable model of agriculture, then another way to frame that is that the Torah’s mission is to change the direction of what we now call the Anthropocene.
–Rabbi David Seidenberg
Enjoy reading and watching the Gateway of Holy Land fill up with pathways (posts).