The Matzav Shmoooze: The Torah View of Global Warming


global-warmingDear Editor,

I think a Torah perspective is needed re the alleged (it is actually heatedly debated, no pun intended, if the claims made by the alarmists are scientifically sound) global warming issue, about which the news media spreads reports that can scare people.

While pondering one of the latest alarmist reports, with a headline of “Scientist: ‘Warming’ Will Become So Bad ‘It Will Be Functionally Impossible To Be Outside'”, the words of our holy gemara, where Chazal talk about a future ‘global warming’, came to mind.

The gemara says, in maseches avoda zara, starting on daf gimmel omud beis:
דאמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש: אין גיהנם לעתיד לבא, אלא הקדוש ברוך הוא מוציא חמה מנרתיקה ומקדיר: רשעים נידונין בה, וצדיקים מתרפאין בה: רשעים נידונין בה, דכתיב (מלאכי ג יט) כי הנה היום בא בוער כתנור והיו כל זדים וכל עושה רשעה קש ולהט אותם היום הבא אמר ה’ צבאות אשר לא יעזוב להם שורש וענף: לא שורש בעולם הזה, ולא ענף לעולם הבא; צדיקים מתרפאין בה דכתיב (מלאכי ג כ) וזרחה לכם יראי שמי שמש צדקה ומרפא בכנפיה [ויצאתם ופשתם כעגלי מרבק]; ולא עוד אלא שמתעדנין בה, שנאמר ‘ויצאתם ופשתם כעגלי מרבק’

Briefly, basically, the gemara cites Reish Lakish who taught, based on a posuk in Malachi 3:19, that in the future, Hashem will, so to speak, take out the sun from its sheath, and the wicked, reshoim, will be judged and burned by it, but tzadikim, the righteous, will be healed by it.

This helps us to understand why the tzadikim of our time are not frantic about this alleged looming disaster, while those who are not tzadikim are terrified, and are trying to alarm others as well.

May we be zoche to besoros tovos, and may the prophets of doom do teshuvah bikarov.

M. H.

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  1. I didn’t think that the Pasuk is referring to “man made” global warming. How can man change ‘nature’ If a person thinks that man has the ability to change the world by releasing gases into the air then he is an apikores and a kofer

  2. tzaddikim and any nonarrogant person and anyone without a political power grab agenda is not worried because the whole idea is ridiculous and there is no need for a torah response

  3. Two questions:
    1)What about beinoinim? Given that all of us (certainly everyone who’s reading this on the internet) are neither tzaddikim nor resha’im, but beinonim, will we be healed by global warming or rather, harmed by it?

    2)Could you give us an example of how global warming has been healing to tzaddikim?


  4. Just another example of how developing a rationale to get funded can push some scientists in strange directions. Non-scientists in government exploit the scam to grab power.

  5. Climate Change, Global Warming, whatever. Its always all about politics for the Democrat Party.

    This is a phony matter that Democrats use politically as a “wedge issue” when they are on the ropes while they are awash will all their scandals: VA,IRS, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and on and on.

    If you disagree with them, then they (Obama, et. al.) will call you crazy and idiotic.

    The only problem with all this? Its been working for the Democrat Party as an effective political ploy.

  6. There are two aspects that many tend to mix up. We are living in times where there is enormous waste being spewed into our environment, especially the oceans. This must be considered Baal Taschris and is certainly against Halacha. These items corrupt the balance in the seas that were meant by Hashem to create continuous life. The Torah speaks of curses that will befall the world if we dont keep to the Divine Plan for that world. (Bechukosai). To say that issuing a warning against the baal tashcris we are all guilty of, i.e. plastic bags that dont dissolve, tones of food thrown out at simchas , all this and more, is apikorsas is just olin wrong. The Torah gives us this world to care for, and we have a responsibility to do just that. The entire world live in the zchus of Yiden keeping the Torah and this entails all the Torah, even if it means not being able to throw rubbish anywhere you please.

  7. Shlomo: Could you give us an example of how global warming has been healing to tzaddikim?

    An example of where the sun was brought out by Hakodosh Boruch Hu, and was healing for a tzaddik is by Yaakov Avinu. The posuk says there (Bereishis 32:32), after he was hurt by the malach who wrestled/fought with him (the maaseh related to gid hanosheh), ????? ?? ????…???? ???? ?? ????. Rashi there brings the midrash aggadah that the sun was brought out to heal him.

  8. Interesting perspective that I’ve never heard before. The other thing is, even it were established that industry causes climate change, and even if it were established that we could do something about it, the Torah would require a cheshbon as to whether we should or not. Because, unlike the velt, we don’t worship the Earth. We believe it was created for our benefit. And while we don’t trash a gift, we do use it. So we would have to determine whether, let’s say, the cost of combating climate change is worth the benefit, like whether people should have to pay more to heat their homes, eat, etc, so that the climate would be back to the way it “used to be.”

  9. Info: Thanks.

    However, I was asking for an example of how global warming has benefitted tzaddikim of TODAY.

    How has it benefited or healed, for instance, Rav Chaim Kanievski and Rav Shteinman?

  10. The main thing we have to realize is that ‘global warming’ or whatever one calls it, the obvious crazy weather patterns, etc. is nothing more than our holy Sages long ago already predicted, it is all from Hashem! and not man made. To religious Jews, this should be an understood!

  11. Based upon our collective experience as Jews, “Gehennem” in this world is not heat, but tyranny. During the August 2011 heat wave when night time temperatures did not drop below the mid 80’s I looked up what the weather was in Warsaw Poland. But compared to the suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2, 100+ degree heat is a “walk in the park”.

  12. #4. Comment from Shlomo

    “1)What about beinoinim?”

    tzaddikim or resha’im
    Many assume that they are to be defined by a stat sheet,

    While in actuality they are based on an overall direction which one is pushing the world
    (towards the ge’ulah or ..)