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...
Holy Land (Eretz Kodesh)
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.
Choose your favorite Pathway, or follow them in order:
Finding a Sanctuary in Nature
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 Year, as a time...