By Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp
Water and fire are indispensable life forces. As such, they are the gifts of God to the human being. At the same time, they can turn into destructive forces when not treated with care.
In the Biblical account and later Rabbinic commentaries one is instructed to act responsibly with the preservation and distribution of pure water. In this respect, sanitation is also a primary human responsibility. In one of the commentaries, the human being is warned not to harm natural resources like trees because there may never come another generation that will be able to set it right, so we must have responsibility across generations.
The world shows at this existential juncture two conflicting faces: on one hand, the horror of refugees desperately fleeing unbearable violent conflicts and the often shameful incapability of states and their citizens to offer adequate hospitality, and on the other hand the unparalleled readiness to take measures to protect the earth.