As we begin our observance of the Three Weeks we turn our attention to an exploration of the spiritual, halakhic, and ecological dimensions of shemitta presented in Yedidya J. Sinclair’s thoughtful new translation of “Shabbat HaAretz” by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (Maggid Books). Ariel Evan Mayse suggests that the volume is an extremely timely contribution, given the perilous potential ecological calamities humanity faces.
Rivka Krause writes on poet Mary Oliver and her lesson to pause for gratitude: At times, the deepest understanding comes from appreciating the simple and often overlooked things around us. Our rituals aim to ingrain a thankfulness through awareness into the Jewish consciousness. The action of blessing food before eating should lead to thoughtfulness of where it comes from and why we eat it, but it so rarely does, because we do not pause and think.