Dec 01, 2021

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Last week, the beach adjacent to the Chinese section of the Port of Haifa was covered with tens of thousands of dead fish of many species reports Haifa Public News. This has led to conjecture that the fish died as a result of pollution from the port, from the surrounding industry, or from sewage being expelled into the port. This has happened several times in the past two years, sometimes due to algae blooms, specifically Asparagus Algae, which is the result of ecological imbalance. The algae are not harmful while alive but turn bright red and excrete toxins when they die, drastically reducing the amount of oxygen in the water. It is believed that the northern winds for the last two weeks brought an unusually large quantity of the algae to the coast of Israel. 

Massive die-offs of fish are prophesied to accompany the end-of-days.

For that, the earth is withered: Everything that dwells on it languishes— Beasts of the field and birds of the sky— Even the fish of the sea perish. Hosea 4:3

Rabbi Shaul Judelman, former director of the Ecology Beit Midrash, a religious study group focused on the environment as it is treated in classical Jewish sources, noted that ecological endeavors are clearly an element in the Final redemption.

“The sea used to be teeming with life,” Rabbi Judelman said. “It was a given in the Bible that the heaven and Earth would always exist. But when the prophets describe the end of life in the sea, it was the ultimate, an inconceivable level for people to imagine.”

“אחרית הימים (acharit hayamim; literally the end of days) can also be translated as the end of the oceans,” Rabbi Judelman pointed out.

“Nature is described as praising God and Man was set to guard over it. Our relationship with nature was initiated by Hashem (God) and how we relate to nature is an expression of how we relate to Hashem. Nature is God’s aspect of Judgment as related by God’s name of Elohim with which he created the world. In the end of days, when we are judged, we will be judged in this name, the name of nature. Some envision the end of days as armageddon and catastrophic. But according to Jewish tradition, there is another possibility that we can bring the Redemption in Achishena, through the sweetening of the judgment. Part of this can definitely be expressed through nature.”

“The environment is our divinely mandated responsibility. As such, harsh judgments can cause natural catastrophes. But in times of drought, we are told to pray but we are also told to engage in acts of charity. Nature is an extension of our relationship with God.”