Torah & Changing Biodiversity
In Bereshit (Genesis 7:14) the Torah says the words,“Every beast after its kind” when referring to all living creatures. In this course Rabbi David Sedley will explore the impossibility of species extinction and the Jewish theological implications of changing biodiversity.
Torah & Changing Biodiversity: Lesson
Until fairly recently, it was common belief that no species of animal could ever become extinct. It was clear, based on Biblical sources and other wisdom, that everything was created for a purpose and therefore could never be destroyed.
This widespread belief was one of the reasons that so little was done to prevent species extinction until the 20th century.
In this class we look at Jewish sources which show that extinction is impossible (and some that show extinction is a real threat) and try to understand how that impacts the Jewish understanding of the environment.
Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel - https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/david-sedley.