Tu Bishvat: the Jewish celebration of the natural world
In Conversation with Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman.
On Monday 10th February Jews celebrate the festival of Tu Bishvat, known as the festival of trees. While the origins of this festival relate to agricultural laws, its significance now includes focussing on our responsibility to the environment and use of the world’s resources.
Our sages relate the story of one great rabbi who saw a man planting a carob tree. He asked the man how long it takes for the tree to bear fruit. “Seventy years,” said the man. The rabbi asked, “Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?” The man replied, “Just as I found mature carob trees in the world planted by my forefathers, I too plant these for my children.”
We are often caught up in our own world, directing our efforts and energy in taking care of our own immediate needs for the sake of convenience, without regard for the wider consequences. Canary Wharf Group have recently implemented environmentally friendly policies. From using renewable materials in the construction of new buildings to modifying our behaviour in the office so we reduce our consumption, reuse what we can and recycle our waste, we all have a responsibility to do our best.
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