Holy Land (Eretz Kodesh)

ארץ קודש

The Torah (Five Books of Moses) is a story of a people and our ties to a sacred land, the Land of Israel. Promised to the Patriarchs, its habitation was still conditional on love of God and obedience to God’s ways. The Saga of the Jewish people became the story of living in the land, being exiled twice by powerful empires, and longing for our native land over two millennia. In modern times, Jews returned to and rebuilt a national homeland in Israel.

Just as love for one child can open our hearts to the needs of children everywhere, so, too can the persistent love for one ancestral landscape, ultimately open one’s heart to the sanctity of the entire earth. “The Earth belongs to God, with all that it holds, the planet and everyone in it.” (Psalm 24). One of the premises of Wellsprings of Wisdom is that our entire planet –uniquely hospitable, verdant, and filled with beauty and life–is our Holy Land, our living Temple, our sacred Garden of Eden.

Enter the Gateway of Holy Land to explore the holiness of all natural places: whether meandering, encountering animals, or finding your sanctuary outdoors. While you are here, you can also explore the ways in which the geography and climate of the Land of Israel shaped the Jewish people, and learn about some of the holy people working tirelessly for peace in the Holy Land. 

Start On Your Journey

The first option below is the suggested next step on your journey.  Feel free to browse the following paths and explore in your own time at your own pace.

The Ecology of Canaan, in the Eyes of Our Ancestors

Note: My friend and colleague Rabbi David Seidenberg is one of the leading scholars on Judaism and the environment. Whether writing about Kabbalah and Ecology, or the Biblical vision of a justice and sustainability, his teachings are both inspiring and timely. -JHD by...

Tikkun Olam: Interfaith Dialogue in the Holy Land

Jerusalem is a holy city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and its very name means, "The City of Peace." But the deep history and religious passions that make the city and the land sacred to so many have also contributed to strife. Although the modern...

The Art of Sacred Strolling

More and more people around the world are learning that walking* in nature can be a spiritual practice. It was surely known to our biblical ancestors, and today intentional time strolling in nature has become an international movement known as Shinrin Yoku or Forest...

Let Nature Guide You Into a New Year

I treasure the late summer, just before the Jewish New Year, as a wonderful time to get out in nature, and I relate it to a Hasidic teaching. “The King is in the Field,” is a parable of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of Chabad Hasidism. He likened...

Talk to the animals; listen to Nature

The Bible relates that King Solomon was known as the wisest of men. One verse suggests that he was able to converse about--the more-than-human world: יְדַבֵּר֮ עַל־הָֽעֵצִים֒ מִן־הָאֶ֙רֶז֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּלְּבָנ֔וֹן וְעַד֙ הָאֵז֔וֹב אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֹצֵ֖א בַּקִּ֑יר וַיְדַבֵּר֙...

Finding a Sanctuary in Nature

After the drama of the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, and receiving the Torah at Sinai, the Biblical book of Exodus turns to what seems a much more mundane subject: building the first Jewish temple, a portable sanctuary known as the Mishkan. Where do we...

The King is In the Field: A Meadow Gallery

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi taught a parable of a king on the way to the palace, who can be approached by everyone in the countryside with ease. His expression, "the King is in the field," characterized the late summer month of Elul prior to the New...

Shemitah: The Sabbatical Year

Shemitah, the Sabbatical year (Levicitus 25), is a revolutionary Torah commandment: every seven years the land will lie fallow and enjoy a Sabbatical year of rest and release. The land needs to rest just as human beings need a weekly Sabbath. Deuteronomy 15 adds a...