How Does Faith Inform Farming?

In today’s world it’s common for people to separate various aspects of their life, their whole.  But this isn’t natural, and in fact it’s rather difficult to do completely.  A holistic world view is actually quite natural, it’s unnatural to divide everything into “unrelated” segments.

At The Tikkun Homestead our faith definitely informs our farming practices from the livestock we raise to how we treat them to how we plant in the garden.  We raise only animal species that are considered acceptable for consumption (Leviticus 11), we treat them with dignity afforded to every living creature (Proverbs 12:10), we mark each firstborn male for a special purpose and do not work him or keep him for breeding purposes (Exodus 34:19), we tithe on our agricultural income (Leviticus 27:30ff), we manage our garden carefully (Deuteronomy 22:9), and more.  Continue reading

Holistic

Holistic: 

  • adj.     Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.
  • adj.     Concerned with wholes rather than analysis or separation into parts: holistic medicine; holistic ecology.

For a little while “holistic” was a $20 word, a fancy word and concept that people liked to use so they sound well-educated.  Today it is both a word and a concept that average people are fairly familiar with.  We find holistic modalities in every area of life today as we begin to better understand that nothing is independent from everything else.  From what modern science is learning, and what observers have noted for millennia, is that all of creation operates as a whole unit of systems composed of multiple smaller whole units and that there are reliable patterns to the way things go when they hum along to produce desirable outcomes.

I appreciated these quotes from the book Holistic Management: A Common Sense Revolution To Restore Our Environment:  “… the world is composed of patterns – of matter, energy, and life – that function as wholes whose qualities cannot be predicted by studying any aspect in isolation. We would know very little about water, for instance, by making an exhaustive study of hydrogen or oxygen, even though every molecule of water is composed of both. … We now realize that no whole, be it a family, a business, a community, or a nation, can be managed without looking inward to the lesser wholes that combine to form it, and outward to the greater wholes of which it is a member.”  Continue reading

Tikkun Olam, The Redemption & The Garden

There is a teaching that says that when the redemption comes all will be restored to the state things were in when Adam and Eve were in the garden.  This teaching has deeply affected me and how I view things.  I wanted to try to share a bit of that here, as it helps to explain the perspective this blog is coming from.  Tikkun Olam means “restoring the world” and below I’ll share some thoughts about one aspect of this concept.

In the beginning when HaShem was busy creating all that is, He brought things forth in a particular order and He was pleased with how they turned out.  At the end of the sixth day we read, “And G-d saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Very good!  Meod tov!  We also read:  “HaShem took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Very good.  He was satisfied with His creation and He rested.

What I want to look at with you is the duty to which Adam and Eve were fulfill:  to work and to keep the garden.  This sounds delightful to those of us who are gardeners and nature lovers.  But what are we to make of it? Continue reading