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Earth Etude for Elul 16 – Ram in the Bushes

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen~

And it came to pass after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham;” and he said, “Hineni, here I am.” And he said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you.” (Gen. 22:1-2)

We are being tested. 

But not by G!d. 

We are being tested by the world in which we live. 


We are being tested by the actions of humans past and present. 

We are being tested by the changing climate.

We are being tested by the racism built into our institutions, our systems, and our lives.

We are being tested by rising sea levels.

We are being tested by white supremacists.

We are being tested by mass migrations.

We are being tested by divisiveness in our communities and our countries.

We are being tested by the scarcity of resources.

We are being tested by words of hate.

We are being tested by polluted air.

We are being tested by our fears and the fears of others.

We are being tested by a scarcity of clean water.

We are being tested by deep economic divisions.

We are being tested by melting glaciers.

We are being tested by the enormity of the problems.


We are being tested. 


How will I respond? 

How will you respond?

How will we respond? 


God gave Abraham a ram in the bushes to sacrifice in place of his son.

But God is not testing us.

God cannot put a ram in the bushes for us.

It is up to us to prevent the sacrifice of our children.

It is up to us to put the ram in the bushes.

It is up to us to see the rams already in the bushes.


It is up to us.


We can do it.


Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spiritand is a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA.

Member since 2014
Susan Levine is Aytzim's volunteer and intern coordinator. She enjoys being part of an international team working to green Israel. Susan holds a master's degree in education. She also has experience in graphic design and is our social media coordinator.
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