How turning off the boiler makes you holy

25.06.2011                      23.Siwan, 5771                      Korach

Umwelt und Judentum:

How turning off the boiler makes you holy

God of the Earth: Every time we save energy we are being "kadosh" and, simultaneously, making a contribution toward sustainability.

The portion of Korach is named for the rebellious Levite Korach who started a dispute over the issue of kedushah. The concept of kedushah is central in Judaism, and its meaning can have profound impact on the environment today. Kedushah or the corresponding adjective, kadosh, is usually translated obscurely as "sanctity" or "holy"; its real meaning is "devotion to a sublime ideal."
In our portion, the Torah tells us that, following his demagogic presentation, there was no longer room on earth for Korach; the earth swallowed him up. At the core of his claims was the statement: "The whole community iskadosh". That does not sound so terrible – does it? After all, we need go back only four verses from here to read G-d's demand "…and you shall bekadosh". But really it is terrible! The obligation to be kadosh is central to the teachings of the Torah and should guide us in all aspects of our lives to strive toward kedushah. But if you are already kadosh, there is no more need to strive. Thus Korach’s complacency pulled the rug from under the Torah, and his arguments were rejected….