What is Driving Us?

This week we will celebrate Tu B’shvat the New Year for the Trees. While Rosh HaShanah is our yearly check in on how we have been as people in the previous year, Tu B’Shvat has come to be our yearly check in on how we have been to the environment. I have to be honest in saying that I have not been that good this past year.

When I reflect on the course that we are on, I am fearful that we are imitating this week’s Torah portion. Like Pharaoh, we have hardened our hearts. We are unwilling to imagine a different way of living. Will we drive ourselves to the bottom of our seas looking for fossil fuels?

In Pharaoh’s manic search for the escaping Israelite slaves he drives his chariots in to the dried up bed of the Red Sea. But, even before God brings down the walls of water, the wheels come off. Even if they wanted to turn around and get out, it is too late. Rashi comments that it was the heat from God’s Pillar of fire that melted the wheels off. What is the point of no return for our society? Are we doomed to collapse? What is driving us?

This year for Tu B’Shvat, let us all think about ways in which we can change our lives and help the world around us. This is the only world we have, there is no spare. It is not a good time to get  stuck with a flat tire.

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