Eco Rabbi – Parshat Miketz – Solutions for Famine

Cow Grazing in WaterEvery week, observant Jewish people read a section of the Torah. This week, our in resident Eco Rabbi looks at Parshat Miketz.

Okay, this week’s parashah is a no-brainer. Seriously, how can an Eco-Rabbi NOT talk about Parshat Miketz? The parashah which contains the solution for dealing with famine…

Parshat Miketz opens with Pharaoh, King of Egypt, receiving a dream in which he sees 7 fat, healthy cows consumed by 7 weak and sickly cows. Then Pharoah sees 7 fat, healthy bundles of grain consumed by 7 weak and sickly bundles.

After consulting with every wise man around he finds Joseph, who had been thrown in jail. While in jail Joseph helped, correctly, interpret the dreams of 2 cellmates. One of them ended back in Pharaoh’s court – and it was he who recommended Joseph to Pharoah.

Joseph explains that there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. He recommends that if Pharaoh is wise, he will save during the years of plenty for the following years of famine. Pharaoh immediately raises Joseph up to be his top advisor and Egypt is saved.

The advice of Joseph in Parshat Miketz is wise, even today. We have been blessed with a storeroom full of fuels – natural gasses, coal and oil. But at the rate at which are burning them, it will be all be gone, perhaps even within our own lifetimes.

Additionally, our current infrastructure for utilities is not sustainable. With too many years of drought we will be without water, even though there are few countries in the world who do not border on an ocean. Not to mention all the waste we dispose of which could be reused or recycled. Our Sun is an unlimited source of energy, if we only invest in harvesting it.

The problem is that if we continue consuming at this rate we will be left without. On an individual basis, Joseph’s advice is wise. If we all can conserve, we will last longer before we use up our resources.

On a larger scale, Joseph’s advice is crucial. Governments need to be taking advantage of this time-period of plenty for developing alternative solutions to their country’s needs.

Israel is a country that develops some of the most advanced environmental technologies but those individual companies cannot implement them here because the government is not providing the financial support. Support for programs that would ultimately be beneficial to her.

Let’s remember with this Hanukkah the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And let us work towards a sustainable future of plenty.

Image Credit: Ted and Jen

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