|Posted on November 16, 2014 at 4:50 PM|
By Gary Konecky
“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'“
- paraphrased from Genesis Rabbah 10:6
How often do we take G-d's creation for granted? How often do we do what we want to G-d's creation without thinking? How often do we view houseplants as just things, things that we throw away when we do not want them? How often do we pluck a leaf while walking past a tree?
Nor is the issue just grass and trees. What of the animals that are part of G-d's creation. How often do our real estate developments move into the land that is their home? How often do the new homeowners then complain that the wild animals are ruining their gardens, raiding their garbage cans, etc.? What is the usual response to these complaints? Usually it is to authorize some kind of hunt to kill the animals.
Nor is it just our treatment of wild animals. What of our domestic animals, such as those in factory farms? What of pigs in gestation crates? What of chickens kept in battery cages? What of dogs in puppy mills? What of the pets in that are in the custody of Humane Societies that turn a profit from killing the pets in their care? What of downer cattle that cannot walk and are moved into the slaughter house with construction equipment so that they can be killed and sold as food?
Then there is the ultimate consequence of all this. In the span of just a few paragraphs, we have moved from insensitivity to plants to animal cruelty. From animal cruelty to the mistreatment and murder of fellow humans is not that big a leap. In the US, the “Land of the Free,” we have the prison-industrial complex, where locking up people is good business and is a very profitable business. After all, if you can lock up animals for profit, then why not people?
Then there is the Military-Industrial Complex, where roughly half of all federal spending is geared to the US Military and defense contractors. The US defense budget is so huge that it exceeds the defense spending of the rest of the planet combined.
Having squandered our wealth on the military-industrial complex (not to mention those killed and wounded to justify shoveling more money at the immensely profitable military-industrial complex), we then wonder why we have no money for schools. We wonder why our college students cannot afford tuition and fall prey to massive student loan debt, debt so huge that an increasing number of students will never be able to pay it off. We wonder why we cannot afford needed medical care. We wonder why we cannot afford unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. We wonder why our roads are falling apart and there is no money to fix them, and we wonder on and on and on.
And so I return to the lowly blade of grass and ask what can a blade of grass teach us. The reason I ask is that even the lowly blade of grass is so important that it has an angel to watch over it.