Midrash on Environmental Degradation

A Pair of Modern Meshalim on Environmental Degradation by Jeffrey Spitzer

וַתִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ

ר' אהרן ור' ג'פרי

אמר ר' אהרן משל לשר הפנים שביטל את חוקי שמירת הטבע.

לאחר זמן אמר "הארץ מקולקלת"

ואחר כך אמר "קלקלתם את הארץ."

כך אמר הקב"ה "וַתִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ"

ואחר כך אמר "כִּי הִשְׁחִית כָּל בָּשָׂר אֶת דַּרְכּוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ."

ר' ג'פרי אמר משל לרב שאמר לתלמידיו

תנו כבוד לי ולביתי

ואמר ביתי ביתך

לבסוף הבית נהרס

כך אמר הקב"ה "וּמִלְאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁהָ וּרְדוּ…"

וכתיב "וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ בְגַן עֵדֶן לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ"

ולבסוף "וַתִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ"

The earth had gone to ruin.” (Gen 6:11)

R. Aharon and R. Jeffrey

Said R. Aharon: A parable to the secretary of the interior who annulled environmental regulations.

After a while, he said “The land is despoiled”

and after that, he said, “You have despoiled the land.”

Similarly, “Now the earth had gone to ruin” (Gen 6:11),

and after that, “for all flesh had ruined its way upon the earth” (Gen 6:12)

R. Jeffrey said: A parable to a rabbi who said to his students,

“Show respect to me and to my house”

and he said “Mi casa es su casa”

In the end, the house was destroyed.

Similarly, God said, “be many and fill the earth and subdue it! Have dominion” (Gen 1:28),

and it is written, “God, took the human and set him in the garden of Eden, to work it and to watch it” (2:15).

In the end, “The earth had gone to ruin.”

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