Parashat Korah

Consumption & Kedushah

We must differentiate between our wants and our needs.

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Critical Consumption

What does this mean in practice? When we prepare to eat a tasty morsel, we are obliged to ask ourselves: will this make me a stronger servant of God? Or, perhaps, am I eating it only because of the enjoyment?

This does not imply that we are forbidden to enjoy the world in order to improve our mood when we feel down or to drink wine on Shabbat to help us attain the joyfulness required for sublime inspiration, etc. Indeed, the Sages already taught: "A person will be called to account for every­thing which his eye saw and he did not eat."  This surely does not imply that we must eat from everything; but there must be a reason--we have to weigh our decisions.

Every time we walk to the grocery down the street instead of driving, every time we turn off the boiler when we had enough hot water for our shower, we are being "kadosh" and, simultaneously, making a contribution toward sustainability.

A child raised in this spirit will have "the quality of the environment" at his heart and may have more impact on the ecology than legislation imposed on a dissident public.

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Rabbi Yehudah Levi is a former Rector, head of the Physics/Electro-optics Department of the Jerusalem College of Technology, and has been a President of the American Orthodox Jewish Scientists both in the USA and Israel.