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Sukkot: Joy Through Water Consciousness

Sukkot is here! And it is indeed a time for joy! After more than a month or deep spiritual work and cheshbon hanefesh; after experiencing the reawakening of Rosh and the cleansing of Yom Kippur, now, by more connected to the essence of life, its time to experience true joy.
In Israel, Sukkot is the beginning of the rainy season. In times not so long ago, this alone was reason for deep joy. After six months of zero rainfall (and a hot summer!) Eretz Yisroel and Am Yisroel have survived and are ready to welcome the rainy season once again. The second mishnah in Messechet Rosh Hashanah states: “And on the festival of Sukkot the world is judged on the water [and the rainfall that it will receive].” In the days of the Beit Hamikdash, praying for water was directly related to praying to Hashem for sustenance. As the Gemarah teaches, rain is one of the three responsibilities which Hashem himself administers (Tannis 2a).

While our ancestors lived in an agrarian society, whose security was tangibly dependent on the presence or lack of rainfall, we currently live in an industrial society, where it is hard to see the direct connection between rain and the food that we find in the grocery store. It is this disconnect that keeps us from understanding our own interconnection and dependence on nature.

Sukkot in essence was, and still is meant to be, a time of renewed connect to water and through it, life and nature. This is still true today as is expressed by the fact that each of the Arba Minim is a very water dependent species and that, even today, we start praying for rain on Sukkot.
This Sukkot, may be each feel the simple joy of life through a deep appreciation of the gifts that Hashem gives each of us through water, rain, and the natural world.
Chag Sameach,
The Canfei Nesharim Team

Rosh Hashanah: The New Year for Years, Humans, Planting, and Vegetables 

The First Mishnah is Messechet Rosh Hashanah states: “The first of Tishrei is the new year for years- for the Sabbatical years and for the Jubilee years, and for the planting and for the vegetables.”
Selichot have started. Rosh Hashanah is almost upon us. The urgency can be felt in the air. As we prepare ourselves for the Jewish New Year, a day of awe and renewal on a personal, as well as national level, this Mishna brings into focus several other aspects of Rosh Hashanah that are often overlooked. The siddur tells us “hayom harat olam”, this is the day on which the world was conceived. The entire world- complete with every flower, insect, vegetable and beast. As such, every living and inanimate thing, “the entire world” stands on the scales. But how can a being without free-will be judged? Since they have no free-choice they can’t do anything wrong!
Perhaps, without possessing free-will, Hashem judges the natural world based on how we humans judge it. Do we see the natural world as valuable? Do we feel that we need it? Do we feel that we need that Hashem make it continue to flourish?
As we hope and daven for a sweet and beautiful new year, may we not forget Hashem’s natural world and the responsibility Hashem gave to us- l’ovdah u’lishomra.
As the Mishna states, Rosh Hashanah is connected to Shemita. For an article to brush up on Shemita click here.
Have A Gimar Chatima Tova and a Rosh Hashanah Sameach!
The Canfei Nesharim Team

Teaching Teens Sustainable Living Through Jewish Wisdom

Please help us develop a new, cutting-edge science and Torah environmental curriculum. The Torah is full of teachings and miztvos about caring for our planet that are deeply intertwined with Torah Values. Yet, our communities, and more importantly our schools, do not currently have the tools to educate their students in these teachings.

That is why we are asking for your help. Together, we will build an inspiring, Torah-based sustainability curriculum, teach teachers how to use it, and change the “landscape” of orthodox high schools.

Year of Jewish Environmental Immersion 2016!

Canfei Nesharim will continue to expand our user-friendly, one-stop location for Jews seeking to learn about protecting the environment, purchase eco-friendly products, and educate their communities about the current state of the environment, particularly as it relates to human health.

Jewish Holidays
Canfei Nesharim offers Torah teachings, activities and resources related to nearly every Jewish holiday. Whether to enrich your personal learning or to inspire your school and community, these resources can help you celebrate with an eye to environmental consciousness and Torah wisdom.

Uplifting People and Planet


Exciting news!  Just in time for Tu b’Shevat, Canfei Nesharim and Jewcology are proud to announce the launch of a new ebook exploring traditional Jewish teachings on the environment, Uplifting People and Planet: Eighteen Essential Jewish Lessons on the Environment, edited by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Evonne Marzouk.

This ebook is the most comprehensive study available in English of how Jewish traditional sources teach us to protect our natural resources and preserve the environment. From food to trees, energy to water, wealth to biodiversity, the book studies eighteen topics where Jewish tradition has a relevant lesson for today’s environmental challenges.

Year of Jewish Action

thumb_year of action logoFrom Tu b’Shevat 5773 to 5773, Canfei Nesharim organized  our Year of Jewish Action on the Environment, in partnership with Jewcology!  

We focused on saving energy and reducing food waste, with practical actions suggested by the Jewish mitzvah of bal tashchit.  

Weekly Torah Lessons

Canfei Nesharim is proud to present Torah teachings and source sheets for every parsha of the year.

Help Us Take Flight

  • You can help us preserve Hashem’s resources and create a better world for our children.  Support our Work.
  • Would you like to bring Torah and environment education to your shul or day school?  Contact us for more information.