In this week’s Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora, we learn, among other things, about a strange ailment that affects the stones of a dwelling, rendering it spiritually unfit for living (see Leviticus 1:34-53). The portion goes on to describe the extensive ritual by which the High Priest re-purifies the house.
These verses resonate quite powerfully for me as we prepare to celebrate Earth Day this weekend. Indeed, it challenges us directly to examine the ways our actions have compromised the delicate balance of the earth: humanity’s dwelling place. Even more to the point, it reminds us that it is our responsibility to set things right. (Alas, there is no more High Priest – there is only us.)
It is heartening to see that religious communities are increasingly bringing their sacred environmental values to bear upon their congregational decision-making. Click here for a report by Chicago Public Radio on three such examples – including my own congregation, JRC.