Monday, May 6, 2013

Turn the Shavuot Custom of Greenery Decorations into an Ecology Lesson

I couldn't help but see the constant green connection to Shavuot in my latest search for new customs. So many revolve around first fruits, greenery decorations, even paper cuts with  images of leaves and flowers surrounding the Torah and other Jewish symbols.

An aha moment? You bet. Especially when I connected the fact that the children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years and several millenia later their descendants took that same desert, tamed it and turned it into verdant fields.

Israel's modern agricultural miracle is a continuation of the rules the Torah taught us about protecting the environment -- and like Tu B'Shvat, Shavuot is a timely holiday for rejoicing over the environmental protection blueprint which the Torah has provided.

Have a look at two of the many environmental lessons from the Torah that we can share with our children:

1. Orlah: Connect celebrating the appearance of first fruits with this law teaching us that nature needs time to mature. While we rejoice over seeing the first fruits of a tree (usually in the third year), to truly savor its taste we must wait one more year before taking our first bite.

2. Bal Tash'khit: This Biblical law teaches us how to preserve the land. Over the centuries the rabbis expanded on it to include the concept of using only what is necessary.

Looking for another green connection with Shavuot? Try this out for size: The story of Ruth incorporates the world's first food drive. After all, didn't Boaz tell Ruth she could reap from the leftover bounty in his fields?

A different slant for this year's Shavuot lesson? Continue your green lesson plan by leafing through the pages of my book, Green Bible Stories for Children for more eco-lesson ideas.

Photo Credit

No comments:

Post a Comment