My Jewish Learning

Nature & the Environment Quiz

The environment impacts so many aspects of life, from the air we breathe to the water we drink. How much do you know about green issues in Jewish thought and practice?

Question 1. In what book does the commandment to be fruitful and multiply the earth first appear?


Question 2. What is the name for the prohibition of unnecessary cruelty to animals?
 Tzaar baalei hayim
 Im tirzu ein zo agada
 Gam zu l'tova


Question 3. What is the traditional Jewish theological understanding of humanity’s relationship with the earth?
 The heavens are for God and the earth was set aside for humanity, so we can do with it whatever we want
 God gives careful instructions about what parts of the environment we are free to do with as we wish, and which are to be dedicated to His glory
 To the extent that the forces of nature can be harnessed, it is the job of humanity to be the stewards of the world, and to act on behalf of God
 Each person's relationship to the environment is determined by God, and it is each person's responsibility to seek out the appropriate balance


Question 4. Which Israelite tribe was not given agricultural land and essentially remained urban?


Question 5. According to the 13th Century Seder Hahinukh, righteous people should grieve when what seed is wasted?


Question 6. The following quote is attributed to what great Jewish thinker: "It is not only forbidden to destroy fruit-bearing trees but whoever breaks vessels, tears clothes, demolishes a building, stops up a fountain or wastes food, in a destructive way, offends against the law of 'thou shalt not destroy.'"
 Abraham Joshua Heschel
 Mordecai Kaplan
 Joseph Caro


Question 7. The ancient compilation known as Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), is based on what idea?
 Singing is the way to get closest to God
 Each animal species sings its own particular hymn to God
 Forests are places full of natural songs to God
 Bird songs are the most organic prayers