Blog: EarthSpirit
by Mayah

Jewish Eco-Prayer

Sukkot, a seven day Jewish festival celebrating the harvest, is observed every year. On the seventh day of Sukkot (October 8 this year), Jews celebrated Simchat Torah, the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Rabbi Arthur Waskow interprets these holidays in modern terms of eco-Judaism.

Date:   10/10/2012 11:30:49 PM   ( 10 y ) ... viewed 10582 times

Regarding Simchat Torah:

"Traditionally there are seven processions or dances with the Torah Scroll, each celebrated with a prayer for healing of the Earth. 'Hosha Na, Please save!' say the prayers. (This chant enters English as 'Hosanna!')  

One of them ends, 'Please save this planet, suspended in space!'  -- written long before anyone had seen or photographed the Earth, hanging indeed in space. Since there are many of these 'Hosannas,' the seventh day of Sukkot is known as 'Hoshana Rabbah, the Great Save Us!'

"Now, in the photograph above, we can actually see our Earth, "suspended in space," filled with life, as it is seen from the barren surface of the Moon  -- not only a vantage point but a warnin
g. We invite you to meditate upon this seeing, and then to breathe into the words of the prayer below.  We have used it during several recent public actions to heal the planet from the wounds imposed upon it by some of the corporations of our day. Please share with all who share your desire to heal our Earth, suspended in Space."

Prayer for the Earth, Air, Water, Fire of our Planet



You, O Holy One of Being  –-
Interbreathing of all life  --
Known to all Your cultures and communities
By many sacred Names;
You, YYYYhhhhwwwwhhh
h*, [pronounce by just breathi
Who breathe transforming life into us
Just as we breathe a transformingVoice into the Shofar;
You, Who breathe life into us all
So that we breathe in what the trees breathe out
And the trees breathe in what we breathe out –
You who breathe into us the wisdom
To shape our breath into words,
To shape our words so that they aim
Toward wisdom –-
May the words we are with Your help sharing today,
Speak deeply –- with Your help -- to our nation and the world.
Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life
Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One.
These ancient words remind us:
“I am The Interbreathing of all life,
And of Me, for Me, from Me, with Me,
Comes all the Earth.
You do not own it.
You must not poison and destroy it.
You must share its bounty with all life   --
As but My guests and visitors
.” (paraphrased from Lev. 25)

Remind us that if some few among us,
Drunk on their own wealth and power,
Pour poison into earth and air and water,
Then it is poison that we ALL eat and breathe and drink.
Our sustenance arises from the interweb of life,
And it is only through greed and coercion
That it is gobbled and poisoned by the few.
Together today we call upon our selves
And all our neighbors
To prevent the over-burning of our fossil fuels
That imposes drought and famine on our farms,
Floods our rivers and our coastlines,
Scorches our planet.
We know that what we call the Climate Crisis
Is a crisis in the balance of the gases
In our planet’s atmosphere,
A crisis in the Breathing of our planet,
A Crisis in Your Name,
hh [pronounce by just breathing]
Yes, a crisis in the very Name of God.
So we light for You this candle,
This fire of enlightenment,
To light up the Rainbow
In the many-colored faces of Your human cultures
And in the many-colored faces of all life-forms;
To affirm that the Earth is not for burning;
To affirm that in all our faces
Is the One Spark of Your Presenc
e. [Light candle]
Send us forth from here,
With the commitment to turn these words into action;
Into compassion, into justice, into healing --
Into shaping the Beloved Community
Throughout the Earth.

We call out
In the Name of the One Who is many;
In the name of the many who are One.
And may the people say, Amen! Ah’meyn! Ah’min!

 ---By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

*The letters YHWH, here using the English alphabet, appear in Hebrew in the Torah. YHWH is the unpronouncable name of G-d; there are no vowels.  The letters are pronounced individually as "Yud Hey Wah Hey"  or alternatively, "Yud Hey Vav Hey".   


"Simchat Torah means 'Rejoicing in the Torah.' This holiday marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Each week in synagogue we publicly read a few chapters from the Torah, starting with Genesis Ch. 1 and working our way around to Deuteronomy 34. On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends."  For more information about Simchat Torah, go to:


"The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Ingathering. " For more information about Sukkot, go to:


Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, healing the earth, and celebrating community. He edits and writes for its weekly on-line Shalom Report.  For more information about Rabbi Arthur Waskow and the Shalom Center, go to:







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