Regaining Our Love Of Creation
Continued from Page L-1
of God's creations to be nuisances.
They seem to get in the way of our
enjoyment of nature. We learn,
however, from ecologists that each
species has its relational
responsibility within the ecosystem
of which we are a part. Life as we
know it is dependent on each
species carrying out its assigned
The rabbis taught us millennia
ago in Midrash Rabbah that, "Even
those creatures you deem
redundant in this world like flies,
bugs and gnats, nevertheless have
their allotted task in the scheme of
creation, as it says: 'And God saw
everything that God had made, and
behold, it was very good.' (Genesis
Rabbi Aha ben Hanina explained
thus: even those creatures deemed
by you superfluous in the world, like
the serpents and scorpions, still
have their definite place in the
scheme of creation."
"The best remedy for
those who are afraid,
lonely or unhappy is to go
where they can be quite
alone with the heavens,
nature and God
So how can we regain our love
of creation? Rebbe Nahman of
Bratslav prayed this prayer: "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, and enter into prayer, to
talk with the One to whom I belong.
"May I express there everything
in my heart, and may all the foliage
of the field — all the grasses, trees
and plants — awake at my coming,
to send the powers of their life into
the words of my prayer so that my
prayer and speech are made whole
through the life and spirit of all
growing things, which are made as
one by their transcendent Source.
May I then pour out the words of
my heart before Your Presence like
water, 0 God, and lift up my hands
to You in worship, on my behalf,
and that of my children!"
Anne Frank believed so as well.
She stated in her diary: "The best
remedy for those who are afraid,
lonely, or unhappy is to go outside,
somewhere where they can be quite
alone with the heavens, nature and
God. Because only then does one
feel that all is as it should be and
that God wishes to see people
happy, amidst the simple beauty of
nature. As long as this exists, and it
certainly always will, I know that
then there will always be comfort for
every sorrow, whatever the
circumstances may be. And I firmly
believe that nature brings solace in
all troubles." ❑
Rabbi Sleutelberg is spiritual leader
of Congregation Shir Tikvah, Troy.
Was I Asleep . . . Or What? How I Became A Recycling Nut
Continued from Page L-1
Washing and REUSING aluminum
foil — what a concept! Rinsing the
bottles and flattening the cans,
breaking down the cardboard boxes,
and bundling the newspapers for
RECYCLING. You couldn't recognize
And the garage? Labeled bags
and boxes neatly lined the wall
ready to receive the treasures I was
to put in them. What was I to do?
Drop-off centers were not so
convenient, nor had curbside
recycling arrived. But Steven had a
solution — he would take these
things to Ann Arbor to recycle —
and he did. He would even pick up
his grandmother's recyclables. His
commitment was impressive.
I'm not saying it was easy to
get used to — but how long could I
ignore those other messages
around me such as: "If everyone in
the United States recycled one-tenth
of their newspapers we would save
25 million trees every year or the
energy saved from one recycled
aluminum can will operate a TV for
three hours or each year Americans
produce about one half ton of
garbage per person ... But the
clincher message was "Mom, don't
you remember when we were kids
how you would re-use plastic bags,
and how we used cloth napkins with
our own napkin holders? I learned it
from you." Need I say more?
I began to understand the
May I Be Worthy
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
and there may I be alone, and enter
to talk with the One that I belong to.
May I express there everything
THE JEWISH NEWS
27676 Franklin Road
Southfield, Michigan 48034
February 7, 1992
Associate Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz
Jewish Experiences for Families
Adviser: Harlene W. Appelman
FRIDAY, FEB. 7, 1992
in my heart, and may all the
foliage of the field (all grasses,
trees and plants) may they all
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 life
and spirit of growing things,
which are made as one by their
May they all be gathered into my
and thus may I be worthy to open
my heart fully in prayer,
supplication and holy speech,
that I pour out the words of my
heart before Your Presence like
water, 0 Lord, and lift up my
hands to You in worship, on
behalf of my own soul, and the
souls of my children.
Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav
Trans. by Shamai Kanter
urgent reasons to recycle, and then
rethinking habits became easier.
Nothing equals saving recyclables
and scrutinizing your own waste to
demonstrate the problem.
Reducing our waste became a
priority. When shopping I would look
for items with minimum packaging,
containers I could use for something
else, or at least containers that can
be recycled so materials will be
RECOVERED. Now I try to close the
loop by shopping for products made
with post-consumer recycled
contents. I'm really INTO it. I learned
that I can make a difference.
Betsy Winkelman is active in several
community organizations and a
member of Adat Shalom.
Books About Nature, Environment
And Ecology: A Jewish Perspective
Fins, Feet, Wings and Other Animal Things by Yaffa Ganz.
Feldheim Publishers, New York, 1990. Animals and their place in the
Bible. Colorful pictures of animals, birds and fish are included. Ages
A Tree Full of Mitzvos by Dina Rosenfeld. Merkos, 1985. Animals
are sheltered by a tree as its way of performing mitzvot. Ages 4-8.
Yedidiya and the Esrog Tree by Yaffa Ganz. Feldheim, 1982. Only
Yedidiya has faith that the Etrog seed he planted would grow. Ages 4-8.
Honi and his Magic Circle by Phillis Gershator. Jewish Publication
Society, 1979. The retelling of the legend of Honi the Circle Maker who
travels all week long, resting only on Shabbat, planting carob seeds.
The seeds will take 70 years to grow into fruit-bearing trees, but Honi
plants not for himself but for those to come. Ages 5-9.
A Seder for Tu B'Shevat by Harlene Winnick Appelman and Jane
Sherwin Shapiro. Ken-Ben Copies, 1984. Designed to be used for Tu
B'Shevat, this book is also filled with information on nature, trees and
protecting the environment. Family activities are included throughout
the book. Ages 5-9.
Savta Simcha and the Cinnamon Tree by Yaffa Ganz. Feldheim
Publishers, 1988. Popular fictional character Savta Simcha has many
funny adventures in this novel including the chapter "Growing Things
and Cinnamon Trees" about all the wonderful things about a tree.
Birds by Weinberger. HaChai, 1991. A beautifully written biblically
correct book about birds. Ages 7-12.
Seder Tu B'Shevat: the Festival of Trees by Adam Fisher. Central
Conference of American Rabbis, 1989. A service for Tu B'Shevat
celebrating the renewal of trees and nature in Israel. Lots of good
resource materials on trees and a section of Hebrew and English
songs relating to the environment. Ages 8 & up.
Compiled by Judy Silberg Loebl, Educational Consultant, Resource
Center, Agency for Jewish Education.