I grew up in the environmentally conscious San Francisco Bay Area where I was trained to do my part in being a good steward of the planet. I recycled even when it wasn’t collected curbside. The first car I selected was a hybrid. In Seattle we compost, reuse rain water, and take steps to minimize our carbon footprint by trying to offset our consumption through donations and volunteering. But none of these things feel like I’m doing enough. This week’s Torah portion reminds us that it is our human responsibility to “till and tend to [the planet]” (Gen 2:15). Let us use this dictum as inspiration to find one more thing to tend to in our care of the earth. What more can we do? Surely, we can each find one thing and together all of these things will make a difference.
In a midrash God says to humanity, “Look at My creations. See how beautiful they are, how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil or destroy My world—for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.” Today this story and the week’s Torah portion calls out to us, to do our part in taking care of our planet. If not for ourselves, for our children and our childrens’ children.
– Rabbi Kate Speizer