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Svivah

    Svivah is the Modern Hebrew for environment. Aichut Hasvivah, environmental quality, is the name of the government ministry that tries feebly to protect the svivah. It comes from the word savav, to go around or turn.

    Interestingly, this is exactly the same verbal picture that underlies environment, which also means what surrounds us, from the French word viron, meaning circuit.

    Although environment in its current sense is a 20th-century coinage, svivah is already used to mean a neighbourhood in the Midrash (Numbers Rabbah, 18.) In Maimonidess Aristotelian cosmology, the msavev is the cause that makes the heavenly spheres rotate continuously.

    Increasingly, we see that the words svivah and environment do not quite evoke the right mental pictures. In fact, the words themselves are part of our environmental problems. The natural environment is not something that surrounds us from which we stand apart, but is inextricably bound up with our existence, sustenance and survival. Wanted: a new Hebrew word for the environment!

Jewish words

Darchei Shalom

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Darchei Shalom
Jewish words

Chizuk

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Chizuk
Jewish words

Harat Olam

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Harat Olam
Jewish words

Ga'agua

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Ga'agua
Jewish words

Nafka Mina

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Nafka Mina
Jewish words

Machzor

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Machzor
Jewish words

Geshmack

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Geshmack
Jewish words

Neilah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Neilah
Jewish words

Taharah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Taharah