Refine Our Souls and Heal the Planet
New Moon MeditationsOpinion

Refine Our Souls and Heal the Planet

During Iyar we elevate our souls to receive the Torah on Shavuot. Part of our work can be directed toward saving our planet.

Rosh Cho-desh Iyar was observed from April 11-13. This month, which runs through May 11, has several important themes of healing, beginning with the acronym for Iyar, Ani Adonai Rofecha, “I am G-d your healer,” from the book of Exodus 15:26. Another recalls the first appearance of Miriam’s well, and also the manna that G-d rained down on us in set portions, that sustained our people while wandering in the desert and didn’t allow us to take more than our share. We’re also counting the Omer, from Pesach to Shavuot. These seven weeks of seven days provide 49 steps toward the main task of this month, which is refining our souls to receive the Torah on Shavuot.

We can do this holy work by immersing ourselves in the practice and integration of the seven middot, universal virtues or attributes of G-d that include: kindness/chesed (living in service to G-d, loving one another); severity/gevurah (being disciplined, with high expectations of self/others); harmony/tiferet (integrating kindness with severity and adding compassion); perseverance/netzach (not giving up); humility/hod (being humble); foundation/yesod (giving of time, energy, money); and royalty/malchut (serving G-d through all middot).

This year as we do our individual inner work, maybe we can also apply the middot to do outer work to heal Mother Earth. Earth Day on our Gregorian calendar is April 22, but our efforts are needed beyond one day in order to heal our planet.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans every year. If current trends continue, there could be more plastic than fish, by weight, in the ocean by 2050.” NOAA further explains that, “When plastics enter the ocean, they become a long-term issue for the environment due to their inability to biodegrade. Commonly used plastics found in water bottles, drinking straws and fishing lines are virtually indestructible, decomposing only in the presence of sunlight over hundreds of years.”

Whatever we had gained in reducing pollution since the onset of COVID by fewer cars on the road, more people working from home, and restricted air travel, we’ve lost due to improper disposal of protection equipment such as single-use masks, gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer, along with disposable food containers and utensils.

Consider your part in helping to support Mother Earth.

The zodiac sign of Iyar is Taurus, the bull, representing dense, immovable energy. How might you use that to physically clear trash from your local park or neighborhood?

Vav is the Hebrew letter, which is like an elevator that lifts us up and down between the spiritual and physical worlds. Observe the interconnectedness between our spiritual relationship to our planet and our physical actions.

Venus is the ruling planet, symbolizing love and beauty. As we extend our love, we play a part in the restoration of the beauty of G-d’s gift to us.

Issachar is the tribe, made up of scholars and mathematicians who gave credence to astronomy and the esoteric wonders of the universe. If every person changes a few habits, the numbers will diminish of waste on our land and in our oceans, and injury and death to animals from foreign objects in their waters will decrease.

The sense or attribute is thought. What we allow ourselves to think about gets our attention and action. One pathway toward elevating our souls and making ourselves more worthy is to remain mindful of our part in the reduction of pollution, waste, conservation, recycling and healing of our world, both locally and globally.

The controlling organ is the right kidney, which is the yin, or passive, feminine of the two. Kidneys in balance regulate the flow of life force and, when out of balance, can energetically carry emotional fear. It’s appropriate to feel frightened at the threat of losing our precious resources. Actions to reverse it, no matter how small, are significant.

Take shorter showers, don’t run water while you brush your teeth, own reusable shopping bags and refillable BPA-free water containers. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Meditation Focus: Choose specific actions to commit to this healing of self and planet.

For a list of tips to help save the planet, visit

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