Environmental Jewish Quotes

Jewish Text Quotes


The following environmentally-themed Jewish passages can be used as the basis of a text study, a starting point for discussion or included on a page of Living Talmud about contemporary environmental issues. In addition, clergy and lay officiants can use these resources to emphasize the Jewish nature of environmental responsibility.

Caring for the Earth

  • “Have dominion over the fish of the sea…” Rabbi Hanina said, “If humanity merits it, they will have dominion; while if they do not merit it, they shall descend.” (Midrash, Genesis Rabbah 8:12)

The World Belongs to God, All Creation is Holy

  • Humankind was not created until the sixth day so that if pride should govern, it could be said: “even the tiniest flea preceded you in creation…” (Leviticus Rabbah 14:1; Tosefta Sanhedrin 8:4)

Bal Tashchit (Do Not Waste)

  • Whoever breaks vessels, or tears garments, or destroys a building, or clogs a well, or does away with food in a destructive manner violates the negative mitzvah of bal tashchit, do not destroy or waste (Kiddushin 32a).

Environmental-Themed Meditations

  • Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone. May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grass, among all growing things. And there may I be alone in prayer, to talk with my Creator, to express everything in my heart. And may all the foliage of the field awake at my coming, to send the power of their life into the words of my prayer, so that my prayer and speech are made whole through the spirit of all growing things. (Meditation of Reb Nahman of Bratslav)

Learn more at http://urj.org/green/judaism/jewishquotes/.

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