Reader's View: Don’t repeat the same mistake that Moses made
As a rabbi and Bible teacher, I was struck by the Feb. 8 letter, "Forget climate change and turn back to God," because it repeated a mistake identical to one made by Moses.
As a rabbi and Bible teacher, I was struck by the Feb. 8 letter, “Forget climate change and turn back to God,” because it repeated a mistake identical to one made by Moses.
The letter dismissed findings of the world’s climate scientists, arguing they were just models. Actually, scientists’ findings are derived from measurements of air temperatures, ocean temperatures, ocean acidity, ice sheets’ mass and more. The letter seemed to want us to leave climate change to God since the world’s creator knows best.
The biblical book of Exodus describes the Israelites fleeing Pharaoh’s army. Egyptians approached from behind and the sea was in front of them. They were trapped. The people panicked and yelled at Moses that he shouldn’t have freed them from slavery, that it would have been better to live out their days as slaves in Egypt than die in the desert.
Moses then made a mistake for which God chastised him. Moses told the Israelites: “Don’t be afraid, stand firm, see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you’ll never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” God rebuked Moses, “Why are you crying out to me. Tell the Israelites to keep going. Lift up your staff over the sea, divide it, that Israel may go into the sea on dry land.”
God doesn’t want us to sit still, expecting he will act. We’re to act first and hope for divine assistance. If we ignore evidence and refuse to help ourselves, we should expect no heavenly help.
Please ask Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Rick Nolan to support emissions-reduction legislation to take the first step on fixing this grave problem. Religious-based hope means responding to trouble with bold action and hoping God partners with us.
Rabbi Judy Weiss Brookline, Mass. The writer is a volunteer member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.