Ten Teachings on Judaism and the Environment by Rabbi Lawrence Troster - Teaching Nine


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9. Environmental Justice is a Jewish value.
The Torah has numerous laws, which attempt to redress the power and economic imbalances in human society and Creation. Examples are the Sabbatical year (Exodus 23:11, Leviticus 25:2-5, Deuteronomy 15:1-4) and the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-24). There is a whole program in the Torah for creating a balanced distribution of resources across society (Exodus 22:24-26, Leviticus 25:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:20-1, 24:6,10-13,17). This is an expression of the concept of Tzedek, which means righteousness, justice and equity. It is the value, which tries to correct the imbalances, which humans create in society and in the natural world. In the modern world globalization has strove to achieve the free movement of people, information, money, goods and services but it can also create major disruptions in local cultures and environments. While globalization has created great wealth for millions of people, many millions more have been bypassed by its benefits and it has had in some cases a negative impact upon the environment and human rights. The Jewish concept of Tzedek demands that we create a worldwide economy that is sustainable and that is equitable in the distribution of wealth and resources.


Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How does Rabbi Troster define tzedek? How does he apply it to globalization?
2. What problems does Rabbi Troster identify with globalization? Can you think of an example?
3. How have you been positively affected by globalization? How have you been harmed by it?

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Related Sourcesheets:Ten Teachings on Judaism and the Environment by Rabbi Lawrence Troster

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