For the individual who finds spiritual fulfillment working the land, kosher gardening means sowing, planting and harvesting one’s crops in harmony with the teachings of Biblical law as expounded by the rabbis and sages.
To the traditional, observant Jew, all aspects of life are guided by Torah law.
Daily activities as diverse as the food we eat, the way we conduct our business, our speech, our dress, even our sexual relations, must all be carried out according to “halacha” (Jewish law).
The G-d fearing Jew will strive to ensure that all his behaviors are performed in a “kosher,” upright manner.
This includes gardening as well.
Growing up in the suburbs of Queens, N.Y., halachot (Jewish laws) regarding gardening were pretty much non existent.
It was only when I moved to Israel and began planting veggies in my home yard did I discover that this area of life was also governed by Divine will.
At first I asked myself, “Why would an act as simple and common as planting a tomato require special “kosher” behavior?”
I soon discovered, however, that due to the sanctity and holiness Jewish tradition attributes to Eretz Yisrael (Israel), special laws pertaining to the land and it’s produce were an integral part of doing agriculture here.
In time, with study, these Biblical teachings have influenced the way I eat and garden and impacted the way I look at the world and my role as guardian and caretaker of the earth.
This lens is a review of my attempts, as a Torah observant Jew, to grow some eighty raised beds worth of vegetables, each season, in accordance with Torah law.
While it is not the role of this site to explain each of the commandments regarding “kosher gardening” in depth, I will do my best to present an overview of the major halachot (laws) and my attempts to fulfill each one in accordance with Jewish tradition.
Familiarizing myself with these “mitzvot” (Divine commandments) has led me to a deeper appreciation of the wonder and mystery of creation, as well as the opportunity to find G-d not only in the houses of prayer and study but in the vegetable garden as well.
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