The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

Divrei Torah and Teachings 

The previous generations mastered the keys to unlock all the gates of the worlds above. But the time has come to smash the locks!

Waking Up the Chamets!

A strange rule about Chamets can teach us some profound lessons.

Yachats: Sharing the Broken Piece

At Yachats we split the middle matsah, inviting the stranger to share a fragment of broken matsah that wouldn't be even enough for one.

Genesis-Shmitah Covenant

Why do we have a covenant? A comparative study of Genesis and Shmitah gives us an answer.

Kashroots: Noah, Leviticus, and an Eco-History of the Kosher Laws

Every religion is shaped by a place and teaches how to live in that place. I’ve always believed that keeping kosher was not just a way of creating Jewish identity, but also a way to create a society attuned to the land. . .

Breaking Open the Abyss – on Tisha B'Av and the Gulf

When King David disturbs the foundation stone of the world, the waters of the t'hom, the abyss, rise up through the breach King David has made, threatening to destroy the world

The Ultimate Text Crunching Sheet for Tu Bish'vat

Study, for many days or for one seder, some of the great Jewish and Kabbalistic texts on fruit, trees and the earth.

Dominion

Dominion in the Bible is not the anti-environmental concept that both environmentalists and anthropocentrists would imagine...

Blessing from the first published Tu Bish'vat Seder

From the 16/17th century seder manual, P'ri Eitz Hadar, based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds. The original seder calls on us to bring blessing to all creation.

Shechitah notes

"This one that didn’t sin was slaughtered..."

Eco-Torah on Sukkot

Teachings about Sukkot exploring the symbolism of the lulav species, the meaning of the Hoshanot prayers, the Tishrei cycle, the rules about s'khakh, and the waving of the lulav, in the light of ecology and the climate crisis.

Hayom Harat Olam: Rosh Hashanah and Our Planet

A unique reading of the words we say when we hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.

Clouds, Yom Kippur, and Climate Change: In the Balance

Are our environmental "sins" are like an 'av, a thick cloud that will storm us, or like an 'anan, a cloud that ultimately will pass on?

Who says, I will sin and then atone...

One who says, I will sin and I will return, I will sin and I will return
there is not enough in his hand to do t'shuvah...

Ramak: "Love your fellow species like yourself"

Moshe Cordovero on the need to extend human ethical principles to animals and other lviing creatures.

God's "body"

Heikhalot Rabbati on seeing the cosmos as the body of God.

The Torah's Only "Inalienable Right": for the Land

Reb Duvid's Tikkun article on the intersection of human rights and ecology. How can human rights become part of ecology? "Human Rights and Ecology" breaks new theological ground, and includes a section on the Bedouin.

Liberation and the Land

"An Earth Covenant Perspective on Human Rights" taught at the first Rabbis for Human Rights Conference in NYC.

Vashti is Shekhinah

The Izhbitzer rebbe on Vashti the queen.

Longer meditations on Pri Etz Hadar

Imagine a Jewish practice which has the purpose of restoring all the species and creatures, and all the sparks they contain, to the fullness of blessing.

Chanukah v. Purim: Awakening from Above

The dreidel v. the grogger.

The Existential Dreidel

Rebbe Nachman's explanation for why we spin the Dreidel. Those letters on the Dreidel mean something completely different than you thought. Mind-blowing...

Redemption In Darkness

Some reflections on the meaning of Chanukah.

Rambam and the Earth

Maimonides' Guide is the foundation for any Jewish ecotheology.
from The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

Building the Body of Shekhinah

Redemption means achieving equality between the feminine and masculine divine principles, so teaches the Or Hame'ir.

Ein Banu Ma'asim

We have no deeds in us, neither good nor bad: A vort on Avinu Malkeinu.

An Offering In God's Image

On Shavuot, when we celebrate receiving the Torah, we also celebrate the offering of the first fruits in the Temple, the bikurim. The offering was a supremely humble gesture. Yet without the small, perhaps wrinkled fruit of the bikurim, there could be no offering...

Sparks of Pesach

The Besh"t on the Pesach sacrifice and raising the holy sparks.

The Mystery of Charoset

There's one important symbol that we don't explain or mention even once in the Passover seder: the charoset. Why?

Unlocking the Haggadah

The Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev session on "Unlocking the Mysteries of the Haggadah"

Tu Bish'vat wisdom

Three teachings about how holy eating brings blessing to all life and all creatures, submitted by Jacob Fine.

What the mute world is saying

In this world, what is further below branches off from a higher place...

With your lips

Study and prayer are done with the lips and breath, not the eyes...

Maidi's Torah

Maidi Katz's Torah: on women's obligation to daven.

The Power to Heal - a story of the Neshkizer rebbe

This story about Rabbi Mordechai Shapiro of Neshkiz and Ana Bekhoach comes from Magid Yitzhak Buxbaum.

A Sukkot Embrace

Embrace is hinted at in the sukkah, just as a person embraces her child in love, encircling her with her arms, and sheltering her with her head...




 

Mini Menu

Waking Up the Chamets! ~
Genesis-Shmitah Covenant ~
Kashroots: Noah, Leviticus, and an Eco-History of the Kosher Laws ~
Breaking Open the Abyss – on Tisha B'Av and the Gulf ~
The Ultimate Text Crunching Sheet for Tu Bish'vat ~
Dominion ~
Blessing from the first published Tu Bish'vat Seder ~
Shechitah notes ~
Eco-Torah on Sukkot ~
Hayom Harat Olam: Rosh Hashanah and Our Planet ~
Clouds, Yom Kippur, and Climate Change: In the Balance ~
Who says, I will sin and then atone... ~
Ramak: "Love your fellow species like yourself" ~
God's "body" ~
The Torah's Only "Inalienable Right": for the Land ~
Liberation and the Land ~
Vashti is Shekhinah ~
Longer meditations on Pri Etz Hadar ~
Chanukah v. Purim: Awakening from Above ~
The Existential Dreidel ~
Redemption In Darkness ~
Rambam and the Earth ~
Building the Body of Shekhinah ~
Ein Banu Ma'asim ~
An Offering In God's Image ~
Sparks of Pesach ~
The Mystery of Charoset ~
Unlocking the Haggadah ~
Tu Bish'vat wisdom ~
What the mute world is saying ~
With your lips ~
Maidi's Torah ~
~
The Power to Heal - a story of the Neshkizer rebbe ~
A Sukkot Embrace ~
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006, 2007