Humanity's Relationship With Nature

Lessons from the Torah

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-- Genesis 2: 8-9,15-17

The Rules of Tithing

When you enter the land and plant any tree for food, you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden for you, not to be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit shall be set aside for jubilation before the LORD; and only in the fifth year may you use its fruit that its yield to you may be increased: I the LORD am your God.

-- Leviticus 19:23-25

The Sabbatical Year: When the Land Replenishes Itself

The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I give you, the land shall observe a sabbath of the LORD. Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. But in the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath of the LORD: You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the after-growth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your untrimmed vines; it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. But you may eat whatever the land during its sabbath will produce -- you, your male and female slaves, the hired and bound laborers who live with you, and your cattle and the beasts in your land may eat all its yield.

-- Leviticus 25:1-7

The Jubilee Year: Ultimately, the Land Belongs to God

You shall count off seven weeks of years--seven times seven years--so that the period of seven weeks of years gives you a total of forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the horn loud; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month--the Day of Atonement--you shall have the horn sounded throughout your land and you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, neither shall you reap the after growth or harvest the untrimmed vines, for it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you: you may only eat the growth direct from the field. In this year of jubilee, each of you shall return to his holding. …

But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me. Throughout the land that you hold, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

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