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. How do many Israelis deal with the challenges of the shemitah (sabbatical) year?
 They sell the land of Israel to a gentile
 They bring in produce from farms in Turkey
 They eat only canned produce imported from other countries
 They eat produce without saying a blessing over it


Question 2. True or false: The radical monotheism of biblical Israel led to a desacralized view of nature itself, making it not a realm of gods, but the Creation of God.


Question 3. According to the book of Deuteronomy 11, when humans do good things, what will God provide in return?
 Rain and abundance


Question 4. According to medieval commentator Don Isaac Abravanel, the Torah emphasizes sustainability through its discussions of which of the following mitzvot?
 Dietary laws
 Shooing a mother bird away when taking her eggs
 Not wearing clothing with linen and wool mixed together


Question 5. How often do Jewish farmers in Israel let the land lie fallow?
 Whenever agricultural experts suggest the land has been overworked
 Once a year, for a month
 Once every seven years, for a year


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. Which of the following was a major ecological concern in talmudic times?
 Waste disposal
 Water pollution