Are YWN liberals “woke”?

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    My point is that there are references in words of Chazal that support the notion that humans are responsible for the environment and that Hashem does not promise to intervene to clean up our mess if we destroy the world.

    Speaking of orthodox judaism, I’m not the orthodox police, but reinterpreting the plain meaning of a midrash to suit your politics is not usually considered orthodox.


    Yichusdik, can you please explain why covid deaths are Trumps fault?
    if yes, what would you have done to prevent it?
    you could blame the overwhelmed hospitals and their negligence… why trump? I’m still trying to figure out how he could have prevented this….


    To clarify, the words לעבדה ולשמרה are interpreted by some commentaries to refer to spiritual work. Others interpret it to refer to physical work and guarding. The midrash (Kohelet Rabbah) I quoted above does not reference the words לעבדה ולשמרה, but it clearly states that Hashem warned Adam about destroying the world. If you want to explain that as spiritual in line with commentaries on Bereishis, go right ahead if that fits with shmuessen, but you need to first acknowledge the plain meaning of the midrash. See Etz Yosef who understands the midrash as referring to the destruction of the physical creation.

    You said in passing that nothing you have learnt includes environmentalism, so I thought you would appreciate having the midrash pointed out to you. If you knew it but disregarded and/or reinterpreted it to fit your politics, then as I said, I’m not the orthodox police, but don’t act like you are either.


    “Regarding protests, it is a fact that the mass outdoor protests did not result in increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, or deaths. It actually is one of the things that has proven that COVID-19 is not transmitted easily outdoors when people wear masks.”
    who at the BLM protests were wearing masks? no one!(I’m talking about the peacefully marching ones) therefore peaceful protests have the same level of safety as Trump rallies

    Reb Eliezer

    It might be denying the good when destroying what Hashem has bestowed to us. If we appreciate what He gave to us, we protect it.


    Reb Eliezer: “We are not suppose to throw a rock in a well or step on a piece of bread because we are denying the good He bestowed on us. Similarly by destroying the environment we are denying His good.”

    This fits well in the language of the midrash. The warning against destroying the world is prefaced by the statement “רְאֵה מַעֲשַׂי כַּמָּה נָאִים וּמְשֻׁבָּחִין הֵן, וְכָל מַה שֶּׁבָּרָאתִי בִּשְׁבִילְךָ בָּרָאתִי”. The natural world was not accidental or incidental; it was created specifically for Adam’s benefit, and therefore, Adam was given the responsibility of protecting it.

    Ben Levi


    I see that you seem to have misunderstood what I wrote.

    The entire Medrash that you quote is found in Pirkei D’Rabi Eliezer Perek Yud Beis (Chapter Twelve) towards the beginning.

    It states the following ( I am translating to the best of my abilities)

    “And G-d took the man and placed him in Eden L’uvda U’lshamra, To work and to watch it, And what work was there in the Garden that it states To work and to keep?

    Perhaps you will say he had to plow the fields or tend the vines or cut?

    But we know all the plants sprouted by themselves!

    Perhaps you will say that there was work in the Garden of Eden to water the garden?

    But was there not a river that went out of Eden, as it says And a river went from Eden?

    Only what does it mean To toil in Torah and to watch the Derech Eitz Chaim “The way of the Living Tree” and there is no living tree other than Torah as it says “A living Tree for those that Grasp on to it”.

    So you it is not a “commentator”, the very Medrash that you quote continues on to state categorically that it is impossible to mean what you are saying it means.

    You are welcome to look up the original source your self


    Ben Levi, I understood what you wrote. However you seem to be laboring under the mistaken impression that one Midrash cancels out another. That’s not how Midrashim work. The Midrash you cited is followed by a number of commentators. Other commentators follow the plain meaning of the Pasuk. See Radak for example including both as alternate understandings, as he often does.

    The Midrash I quoted above from Kohelet rabbah has nothing to do with with the Midrash you quoted. These are different drashos, with different messages. Midrashim do not have to be consistent, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Pirkei derebi Eliezer doesn’t shlug up kohelet rabbah. They offer alternate explanations. As to the question what the purpose of physical work would be, there are several ways to understand the Torah’s purpose of telling us about gan eden. If you want pashtus, the netziv writes that although gan eden did not need work as it was created in a perfect state, it did need cultivation as time went by. Kohelet rabbah seems to be understanding gan eden as a microcosm of the entire world as it transitions from the trees of gan eden to all of creation. Also as I clarified above, the Midrash doesn’t explicitly read it into לעבדה ולשמרה. That was my addition. If you don’t like it, I won’t be insulted.

    All of this is interesting, but to your original point, chazal do indeed mention the obligation to protect the natural world.

    Decency is Key

    The Biden Harris website states that they support the Green New Deal.

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