A thought for Tu B'Shevat

God created a magnificent world for us with bountiful resources for us to exploit appropriately for our own needs. Yet it is not always straightforward to work out how to do so, how to balance our respecting and appreciating the world around us with exploiting it.

Shabbat provides us with a weekly reminder and opportunity to get the balance right. Throughout the week, we are the masters of our environment, building an ever-more sophisticated society. On Shabbat we step back from creative endeavours (melacha in Hebrew), reminding ourselves that God, rather than humanity, is the ongoing Creator and Sustainer of the world. This stepping back helps us to “see the wood for the trees”, to appreciate both our achievements and the magnificence of our planet.

As such, Shabbat is a particularly good time to consider doing any of the following:
• Use time swtiches to facilitate observing Shabbat and conserving electricity;
• use your best cutlery and crockery in honour of the Shabbat meals rather than those disposables which are not environmentally friendly;
• Take the time which Shabbat offers to contemplate our beautiful planet.

by Rabbi Michael Laitner, Rabbi of the United Synagogue Living and Learning Department

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