Health, Nutrition & Torah: Chukat

| June 16, 2010

The Text:

Numbers 20:2-5 “The community was without water, and they joined against Moses and Aaron.  “The people quarreled with Moses, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished at the instance of YHVH!  Why have you brought the YHVH’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die there? …There is not even water to drink!”

The Context:

In this parsha, the death of the prophet Miriam is linked to a water shortage in the community.  While God provides nourishment with manna, the people remain thirsty.  In this dramatic passage, the people worry that they have left Egypt only to die in the wilderness.

What it Means for Advocates:

Clean water, the sustaining life force for all living creatures, is not available to all people. According to UNICEF, 1.1 billion people, 20% of the world’s population, lack access to safe drinking water.

In 2004, 2.2 million deaths were attributed to unsafe drinking water; nine out of ten were children under five years old.

Learn about water conservation and usage in your home or institution by looking at your water bill.  Pick one day to record every time you use water for something, no matter how big or small, whether it is flushing a toilet, cooking or cleaning.

Once you have recorded each instance, divide them into categories:

Personal hygiene, cooking, cleaning, health and wellness, eating

Note also the source of water:

Bottled, plumbing, faucet, pool, natural occurrence

Imagine you had access to only two gallons of water each day.

How would your habits change?

When were you wasteful of water and when did you conserve?

How can your conservation of water even in the smallest way affect someone on the other side of the world who doesn’t have access to clean water?  Consider how conservation of water here in America affects water use all over the world.

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