Rabbi's Monthly Message

March's Message from Rabbi Hannah Orden

Bal Tashchit – Do Not Destroy

Jewish text and tradition requires us to be stewards of the earth. In Genesis God forms the first humans from the earth and places them in the Garden to “tend it and protect it.” Later rabbinic tradition establishes a principle – Bal Tashchit – “Do not destroy.” A midrash imagines God speaking to the first human, saying: “Behold My works and how beautiful and splendid they are. Be careful not to become corrupt and destroy My world. For if you become corrupt and destroy it there will be no one to restore it after you.”

In connection with Tu B’shevat our 7th grade students discussed what Bal Tashchit means in our world today and brainstormed ways that we could be better stewards of the earth here at CBH. They presented their ideas to the rest of Religious School and asked for additional suggestions. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Make more recycling bins
  • Put up signs next to trash cans and recycling bins explaining what can be recycled
  • Use less paper in classes
  • Post signs reminding people to turn off lights
  • Hold a clothing drive
  • Plant trees
  • Make a compost pile

Meanwhile, a small group of adult CBH members have been engaged in a similar process to determine ways for CBH to be more energy-efficient. Led by Rich Cimino, the group has discussed the feasibility of installing solar panels, replacing light bulbs, and making the air-conditioning system more efficient.

Next time you are at CBH, you will see the initial results of these efforts. We may not be ready to create a compost heap or install solar panels, but our 7th grade students have made additional recycling bins and signs to remind us what can be recycled. You will also see signs reminding us to turn off lights. And speaking of lights, the adults are testing sample LED bulbs in the social hall, with the idea of replacing lights as they burn out.

We hope you will support these steps and follow the lead of our children in becoming better stewards of our beautiful planet.


Fri, 24 March 2017 26 Adar 5777