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December 30, 2013 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Bo

This week’s Torah portion begins with the plague of locusts (Exodus 10).  Scharfstein points out that one reason locusts are so harmful is that “when the food could not be transported quickly over long distances, a sizable locust invasion was often the cause of famine.”

In recent years, a “locavore” movement has promoted the idea that city-dwellers should eat food grown near them, just as was the case in pre-industrial societies.  This sort of idea is probably harmless in moderation; however, this week’s portion should remind us how terrible it is to be totally dependent on nearby farms for food.

In the ancient locavore world, if your region or nation’s agriculture was unable to produce food (whether due to locusts or some other crop-killing plague) you could not easily buy food from someplace else- which means you starved.  Today, this sort of starvation usually occurs only when civil war prevents people from trading across national borders.  So we should be very grateful that we can buy food from all over the world, locusts or no locusts.

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