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Torah prohibition on Mixing Seeds.  RSS feed

 
Brandon Greer
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I finished reading the One Straw Revolution and I was very excited about the whole idea. But recently one of my peers pointed something out to me that really disappointed me. So, I'm Jewish and there is a prohibition in our rules that forbids "mingling seed" which means I can't grow clover with my grains like he suggested in the book. I also must separate my different crops by at least a small distance. I know this sounds silly and it really has me scratching my head, but it's something I must deal with nonetheless. Is it possible to do permaculture gardening without mixing seeds? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
 
Leila Rich
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Brandon, this kind of prohibition is completely unfamiliar to me.
Here's an old thread until someone with a clue shows up!
http://www.permies.com/t/10016/organic-sustainable-practices/Biblical-permaculture
 
Brandon Greer
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Leila Rich wrote:Brandon, this kind of prohibition is completely unfamiliar to me.
Here's an old thread until someone with a clue shows up!
http://www.permies.com/t/10016/organic-sustainable-practices/Biblical-permaculture


Thanks for the link. The same topic I'm asking about is mentioned in that thread. I think it's ok to have plants growing together, just not planting them with a mixed seed. It seems the guy in One Straw does this when he plants the clover and grain at the same time.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Brandon maybe researching deeper into your cultural history will give you a view into why a prohibition was made at what time in history, so that perhaps you could choose what is to be followed within your religion as apposed to what was happening culturally that got put into religion at some point in history.
I grew up keeping the sabbath and not eating pork but I wasn't jewish at all, I came to learn pork is the meat that goes rancid the quickest and was the most prone to inducing illness with ill preparation in the climate of the middle east. It wasn't until I was probably 24 that I got over my fear of trying pork. Years later I took up honoring animals for their intrinsic characteristics over honoring the rituals and views towards clean and unclean of ethnic background. Left to their own devices separate than when man interferes many animals are not at all like how we can hold them to be under mankind's care.

Your specific practice of not mixing seeds could stem from some form of cross pollination starvation epidemic of the past or simply something with mixed into something else that was used as a animal browse and they lost allot of livestock. I can't cut grass for the rabbit's on 95% of my acre because it's mixed with a plant that will give them blisters and possibly kill them so I could see how I could quickly make a law similar to what holds you back from the Fukuoka technique. Follow your traditions and hope that reason over ritual is a tradition you can pass onto your children. It seems like more of an issue of feeling like to not mix seeds is monoculture, but then again clumps and clusters are fully existent in nature and poly-cultural systems. Would a foot path between garden beds with borders suffice without needing deep soul searching? you can still rotate crops from bed to bed so the soil experiences multiple plants but not at the same time. It's a shame to forgo symbiotic relationships as any clump still has effects into other clumps for a distance of about 2 meters even if not planting tightly together, but better at times when it's tightly packed together. How you could be bared from putting a nitrogen fixing plant in with your nitrogen hungry crop, but allowed to put in nitrogen made from petroleum which didn't exist at the time of the rule defy's reason. But like I said the intent at the time of making the law was more likely appropriate than now.
 
chip sanft
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This isn't an area I have any knowledge of, but it appears that, at least according to some interpretations, you don't need to separate the seed into different fields. You just have to keep them separate, and not by that much (searching the internet for Kilayim + seed turned up some of these interpretations). So perhaps you could use alternating rows and keep them apart?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Brandon Griffin wrote:I know this sounds silly and it really has me scratching my head, but it's something I must deal with nonetheless.


It's not so silly when you think about how difficult it would be to harvest grains with similar but not exactly the same ripening times. So I think the "don't mingle seeds" might refer to not mingling crop seeds. Clover is not a crop in this context, it is a groundcover or living mulch.
 
wayne stephen
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I was raised Catholic until my parents switched to Pentacostlism when I was 13. I sought after the Eastern faiths in my young adulthood. Now in my middle years I wish I could be completly free of all religous thinking. So I probably should not be chiming in. I like what Lewis Black has to say about Christians interpreting the Torah. " You never see a Rabbi on TV interpreting the New Testament , do you ! ". So here goes , are you sure that that scripture meant to not physically mix different vegetable seed together and was not meant to convey something else? I am still trying to figure out if not boiling the calf in the milk of the Mother meant not ever serving any milk or dairy together. There is a strain of Christianity that considers themselves Jewish and struggles to live by the proscripitions of the Torah. Unfortunately this religious view sees the world as a three act play and the Jewish People disappear in the third act. I mean no disrespect but only trying to convey that when I looked deeper into what I was taught I found it was broader than it seemed. Of course my culture is unrooted and has been able to use scripture to our own device to the detriment of others for centuries. I respect that the Jewish people have been able to keep a continuity of thought for so long.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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I wonder if the original intent was to prevent cross-pollination between varieties? 'Mingling seeds' of several varieties of wheat or something would have been a terrible waste of all the effort put in to selecting them and a loss of a valuable resource.

Small patches and clusters perhaps in rotation might be the way to go.

Out of curiousity, is this proscription ever applied to genetic engineering or is it just restricted to seeds you can hold in your hand?
 
tel jetson
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Brandon Griffin wrote:
Leila Rich wrote:Brandon, this kind of prohibition is completely unfamiliar to me.
Here's an old thread until someone with a clue shows up!
http://www.permies.com/t/10016/organic-sustainable-practices/Biblical-permaculture


Thanks for the link. The same topic I'm asking about is mentioned in that thread. I think it's ok to have plants growing together, just not planting them with a mixed seed. It seems the guy in One Straw does this when he plants the clover and grain at the same time.


so could you limit your seedballs to one species each, and plant the species one at a time but in the same field? is the prohibition against mixing the seeds before sowing them, or after?
 
Tyler Ludens
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In the Old Testament the prohibition is in Leviticus 19:19. Different translations state it slightly differently. "You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with another kind: you shall not sow your field with mixed seed: neither shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you." There is a similar prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:9. The proscription in Deuteronomy seems much more definitely anti-permacultural. "You shall not sow your vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of your seed which you have sown, and the fruit of your vineyard, be defiled."
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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The Deuteronomy one with it's reference to the fruit, and defiled fruit, definitely sounds to me like it could be about not cross-pollinating varieties. Have you talked with a trusted spiritual leader? I bet there has been some scholarship and discussion about this within your faith community.
 
John Polk
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To set your mind at ease:

Kil'ayim (Hebrew: כלאים‎, lit. "Mixture" or "Confusion") is the prohibition of
crossbreeding seeds, crossbreeding animals, and mixing wool and linen.


With that in mind, I (personally) would interpret that to mean that care should be taken to not mix seeds that may crossbreed.
With the Garden of Eden, it is clear that He mingled many seeds together. Perhaps, those that could crossbreed were separated from each other.


EDITED to add:

If the crossbreeding is prohibited, then it stands to reason that you should NEVER plant hybrids. To be fully compliant, you should only seek open pollinated (OP) seeds.

As a side note, I have gardened in the Holy Land, and what I see there is predominantly hybrid crops of vegetables. Feeding their people seems to require the use of "mingled seeds".


 
Tyler Ludens
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Kil'ayim (Hebrew: כלאים‎, lit. "Mixture" or "Confusion") is the prohibition of
crossbreeding seeds, crossbreeding animals, and mixing wool and linen.


That is very specific compared to the various versions of the OT....



 
John Polk
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Kil'ayim (Hebrew: כלאים‎, lit. "Mixture" or "Confusion") is the prohibition of
crossbreeding seeds, crossbreeding animals, and mixing wool and linen.


That is very specific compared to the various versions of the OT....





Throughout the centuries, thousands of Rabbis have interpreted 'The Laws'.
Their works are presented in the Talmud.
Modern interpretation is based on the works of the Talmud.

 
Brenda Groth
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in practical terms here in a temperate area of Michigan, it isn't practical to MIX seeds and just toss them out or rake them in..anyway.

Everything has different requirements, (ph, soil conditions, water conditions, etc.) and different heat or germination requirements and frost tolerances.

I have to plant every thing one seed packet at a time, except for mescluns and lettuce mixes, and also I have a rainbow carrot mix and a few others like that.

I start out in spring planting the "as soon as the soil can be worked" crops ..later I'll over seed them with lettuce or mesclun, or other such greens (like say I'll plant carrots in the spring early and then a week or two later I'll sift some mixed lettuce seeds over the top or mesclun, same with my salsify, parsnips, beets, etc.

Generally these are all planted in the open spaces around my fruit/nut trees, berry bushes, grape and kiwi vines, etc..where I do not have a mulch plant, comfrey or rhubarb, or an insectary plant, or some herbs or something growing permanently..

I'll then wait until warmer weather and go and push in some beans here and there where there is something for them to climb, squash, melons, cukes, etc..the same thing..as if I planted them early they would freeze.

I do not till the soil, but I use a fork and wiggle it well to loosen deep for the root crops, and i sheet compost the entire garden..i'll pull back mulch from areas where I'm seeding and scratch them into the soil..except the lettuce which goes on top with a little sifted compost over them..

I also take some seed packets with me when I'm pulling weeds from the garden (if i remember) so when a weed comes out, a seed can go in
 
Varina Lakewood
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It's interesting. I looked up that verse in one of the fairly accurate more modern versions of the Bible. It read: "Do not plant two crops in your vineyard, or both will be ruined."
Sounds like crossbreeding to me. If you think about it, it makes sense, because the FIRST thing you learn when you check into breeding plants is that most hybrids are weaker and less desirable than the parent crops, not only that, but they don't come true to seed. (Hard to remember, I guess, when we have so many successful hybrids on the market, but actually quite true.) If you interplanted all your seed crop and the seed came out hybrid...well, they say it takes 8 generations of plants to successfully stabilize a hybrid into an OP variety. In the meantime, if that was your main food crop, you could starve to death. If it was your main cash crop, you would lose money and customers, and put yourself in a bad spot. Even if neither of these was true, you'd still have lost the true heirloom strains that had been in your family for generations, which would be a different kind of tragedy.
 
John Polk
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Since this is essentially a religious question, I believe that the 'final answer' should come from a respected religious leader.
Contact a Rabbi who has studied the Talmud and seek his interpretation. If you are unhappy with his decision, ask a 2nd or 3rd opinion.
Not everybody will necessarily interpret it the same.

Those of us here on permies.com can offer you our interpretations, but the words of a Talmudic scholar should be taken as a legitimate way to set your mind at ease, knowing that you are not violating any of your laws.

 
Amit Enventres
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I'm also Jewish and ran accross this same thing. I've struggled with it because of my background in ecology. Here's what I know...though I am not a Rabbi.

The Torah (Old Testament) says basically don't mix-breed things.
The Rabbis of the Talmud interpreted this as grafting two different species together or mix-breeding two different species together. So, no mules, etc.
Attached to this law was another law against looking like your sinning. So, in order to not look like your sinning, you should not grow different plants close to eachother, you shouldn't start seedlings in a watermellon, and you need to especially seperate vines - because they are more likely to intertwine and look like a mixed-bred plant.
This law and these extensions only apply in the land of Isreal, but it is customarily extended to grapes (because of the additional holiness).

*the law of letting trees grow for 3 years without eating the fruit does apply everywhere.

I used to try to be extra strict with this law and apply it here. However, learning more and more about soil, I had faced two roads, be extra strict and watch my soil die in my hands, or figure out an alternative.

First of all, I live in California, not Israel, so that means it doesn't apply (whew!) Second, the rules of seperation of plants are so people don't go buy and think I've mixed two species of plants. Well, that may be what they would think 2,000 years ago, but now people often think of monocrops of corn or soy bean when they think of GMOs (which are really mixed species) and when they see a permaculture garden or other hippie garden they think heirloom, pure-bred seed. So, I don't think the laws of looking like your sinning they had then apply now. I think what does apply is the original law. So, no GMOs or other things of the like.

Again, I'm not a Rabbi and probably should read more before giving my opinion, but oh well :p

Hope this helps.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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THanks for this rich discussion.

I'm looking in to how to encourage the Jewish community to grow edibles in yards. I"m posting what I've come up with here, below, but also I"ll add this point up top: if you are going to grow a monoculture, it becomes all the more important to have everything AROUND the monoculture be very diverse!!! and to have trees around it! In the times of the laws being given, there would have been these since not everything had been torn down to make a strip mall yet. So, the default would be, plenty of uncultivated land around the field, then a monoculture in a small space, then more uncultivated field. Until you had too much population density, which Isaiah prophecied would be a bad idea (see below). THe piece about making small rows of a single crop seems to handle the problem pretty well.

I personally am not going to follow the commandment, since apparently it doesn't even apply outside Holy Land, and I'm not in compliance with most of the other 612 mitzvot anyway, but for those who want to do it by the book--polycultures and having/planting trees around your fields is doubly important!!! Also , see Paul's organic lawn care article for some general ideas of ways to handle a monoculture (albeit an arguably less useful one, but one that a lot of people like to have) more sustainably (it's on richsoil.com I believe, or maybe an automatic link will appear from Heaven here)





My notes:




The Torah speaks for food cultivation in our yards and for long-term cultivation of crops rather than decorative grass:

And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. (Leviticus 19:23)

The words say that the fruit tree is a long-term act for the future, immediate harvest is forbidden even after the tree has begun to fruit for three years. You have to think long-term.

And it speaks against polyculture:

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Leviticus 19:19)

The idea of monoculture is one of the biggest challenges for an agriculurist to handle. If there are going to be monocultures, then there has to be diversity and polyculture all _around_ the monoculture, all around the field. The diversity of life around the field must be even greater than if there were no monoculture to keep the balance, provide habitat for the insects and other animals, and prevent an over-running of the crops with those insects and animals having lost their habitat.

This idea, the need for space among the fields of cultivation, is also spoken to by Isaiah. Isaiah says, "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" Over-civilizing and over-concentrating of houses and fields creates problematic monoculture.

For all these reasons it is important that temples and synagogues plant fruit trees around them.

In addition to the liturgical reasons, there are more reasons. The survival of Jews has always been a precarious matter, and now more than ever the position of humans is in a tricky place. Food resilience and food security are issues that a few are paying attention to, and if anyone looks at the food distribution system, you can easily see that if some severe weather patterns or other upheavals disrupted the supply of fuel or transport (as happened in New York during Hurricaine Irene) there could be a situation where many would be hungry. Having food in one's own yard is the clearest assurance that it will be there when disruptions in some other part of the world occur.

Given both the liturgical and pragmatic arguments for planting trees, it should be a simple decision already. But in addition, the cost is almost negligible. To plant a tree and tend it, to give it a bit of good soil and occasional pruning, is a few hours of labor. It produces for decades, even centuries. Our children and children's children will eat its fruit and its nuts and the grapes of the vines we plant today. It is a waste of a perfectly good yard to have it fail to produce food for a family or at least for the poor to glean it.

In Europe it is common for people to have fruit trees in their yards. It is not difficult, everyone can do it. Granted, history is complicated--in Europe, Jews were prevented from access to the land, and in America all kinds of people generally have given up their relationship with the land voluntarily. The seduction of commerce and easy, cheap food is hard to ignore. Too much luxury has been our undoing in many ages, and here it is no different. We do not plant fruit trees but instead plant decorative ones. But it is not the best way of going about things.

We can easily plant trees and get good results. Labor in the fields is not necessary simply to cultivate a few fruit trees. Fresh food--truly fresh, and grown by familiar hands rather than by unknown persons--can be more health-giving and life-giving than what is bought in a store, shipped from far away.

It is good to send money to Israel to plant a tree, and this is necessary; but we should not overlook the opportunities in our own yards to plant trees or to plant better trees than the ones we've chosen. There are liturgical and practical reasons for this.




 
Tina Paxton
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I'll preface my comments with this: I'm not Jewish. I'm Pentecostal Christian. If my words offend, they are not intended to do so.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:I'm looking in to how to encourage the Jewish community to grow edibles in yards.


That's a great mission! Is there a particular challenge to reaching this group? And, are you reaching out to all Jewish sects or just particular ones?

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote: I"m posting what I've come up with here, below, but also I"ll add this point up top: if you are going to grow a monoculture, it becomes all the more important to have everything AROUND the monoculture be very diverse!!! and to have trees around it! In the times of the laws being given, there would have been these since not everything had been torn down to make a strip mall yet. So, the default would be, plenty of uncultivated land around the field, then a monoculture in a small space, then more uncultivated field. Until you had too much population density, which Isaiah prophecied would be a bad idea (see below). THe piece about making small rows of a single crop seems to handle the problem pretty well.


It also makes adhering to the Sabbath Rest (as specified in Leviticus 25) important as well. Here we see God commend that every 7th year, the ground would be rested and even the vineyards were not to be pruned. Then, every 50th year, would be the Year of Jubilee when the ground and vineyards would be rested for 2 years.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:I personally am not going to follow the commandment, since apparently it doesn't even apply outside Holy Land, and I'm not in compliance with most of the other 612 mitzvot anyway, but for those who want to do it by the book--polycultures and having/planting trees around your fields is doubly important!!! Also , see Paul's organic lawn care article for some general ideas of ways to handle a monoculture (albeit an arguably less useful one, but one that a lot of people like to have) more sustainably (it's on richsoil.com I believe, or maybe an automatic link will appear from Heaven here)


I suppose those of the more conservative sects would be more inclined to adhere to these mitzvot.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:My notes:

The Torah speaks for food cultivation in our yards and for long-term cultivation of crops rather than decorative grass:

And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. (Leviticus 19:23)

The words say that the fruit tree is a long-term act for the future, immediate harvest is forbidden even after the tree has begun to fruit for three years. You have to think long-term.


And, this is actually good practice -- to not harvest the early fruits and encourage the trees to put their energy to growth of the roots and trunk.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:And it speaks against polyculture:

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Leviticus 19:19)

The idea of monoculture is one of the biggest challenges for an agriculurist to handle. If there are going to be monocultures, then there has to be diversity and polyculture all _around_ the monoculture, all around the field. The diversity of life around the field must be even greater than if there were no monoculture to keep the balance, provide habitat for the insects and other animals, and prevent an over-running of the crops with those insects and animals having lost their habitat.


My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that some of these commandments weren't actually for any practical purpose other than to set the Israelites apart from their neighbors. These were G-d's chosen -- His "set apart ones" and while some rules (like about eating pork) was for health benefits, and others (like not cooking the lamb in the mother's milk) were moral/humane, some were just to put distance/distinction to His People.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:This idea, the need for space among the fields of cultivation, is also spoken to by Isaiah. Isaiah says, "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" Over-civilizing and over-concentrating of houses and fields creates problematic monoculture.

For all these reasons it is important that temples and synagogues plant fruit trees around them.

In addition to the liturgical reasons, there are more reasons. The survival of Jews has always been a precarious matter, and now more than ever the position of humans is in a tricky place. Food resilience and food security are issues that a few are paying attention to, and if anyone looks at the food distribution system, you can easily see that if some severe weather patterns or other upheavals disrupted the supply of fuel or transport (as happened in New York during Hurricaine Irene) there could be a situation where many would be hungry. Having food in one's own yard is the clearest assurance that it will be there when disruptions in some other part of the world occur.

Given both the liturgical and pragmatic arguments for planting trees, it should be a simple decision already. But in addition, the cost is almost negligible. To plant a tree and tend it, to give it a bit of good soil and occasional pruning, is a few hours of labor. It produces for decades, even centuries. Our children and children's children will eat its fruit and its nuts and the grapes of the vines we plant today. It is a waste of a perfectly good yard to have it fail to produce food for a family or at least for the poor to glean it.

In Europe it is common for people to have fruit trees in their yards. It is not difficult, everyone can do it. Granted, history is complicated--in Europe, Jews were prevented from access to the land, and in America all kinds of people generally have given up their relationship with the land voluntarily. The seduction of commerce and easy, cheap food is hard to ignore. Too much luxury has been our undoing in many ages, and here it is no different. We do not plant fruit trees but instead plant decorative ones. But it is not the best way of going about things.

We can easily plant trees and get good results. Labor in the fields is not necessary simply to cultivate a few fruit trees. Fresh food--truly fresh, and grown by familiar hands rather than by unknown persons--can be more health-giving and life-giving than what is bought in a store, shipped from far away.

It is good to send money to Israel to plant a tree, and this is necessary; but we should not overlook the opportunities in our own yards to plant trees or to plant better trees than the ones we've chosen. There are liturgical and practical reasons for this.


Throughout history, Jews have had to adapt to various challenges to their existence and their religious practice. But, adherence to the Torah also saved them (i.e., keeping the laws of cleanliness--not having sewage running in the streets--saved them from the Plagues in Europe). How can you present the idea of establishing fruit trees and food gardens in their yards as part of their religious practice rather than a departure from it? For very devout/Conservative Jews, every choice in life is connected to their faith whether it makes sense to modern concepts or not.




 
Dave Burton
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I'm a tad curious. According to many religions, a god created the universe. If said god created everything, then that god knows how all the ecosystems in the world operate and how permaculture strives to feed the world and repair the world by mimicking natural ecosystems. Following that line of thought, your desire to create a permaculture system has the intention of doing good. Would your intention of doing good cancel a violation of that line of the Torah? Could one say that they are striving to make a system that said god had intended?

Not quite the best thing to ask, but would anything bad really happen for mixing the seeds? Wouldn't your god understand and forgive you?

I don't know, so please excuse me if my questions seem silly.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Good points, guys. The thing that occurred to me after I posted this was that there is a whole lot of emphasis on blood in the Hebrew tradition. Purity of blood line. (Steiner says that's because Yhwh is about the ego and that's in the blood.) So not mixing with the other people is impotant. Never mix, never worry kind of thing. The spirit of the halakha could be interpreted to mean "don't make hybrids," as some have suggested, just as "don't cook a kid in its mother's milk" is intrepreted (very strictly and very consistently) to meantdon't mix milk and meat at a meal. The point is, not mixing things that aren't supposed to be mixed. I think mixing clover and grain would be fine. The halakha doesn't say "you must weed your field" or "you must apply a robust artifical weed-killer spray" since the latter didn't exist and the former NO ONE in 500 BCE had time to do. Weeds were a fact of life, and if you plant some to help your main crop, I don't think God is going to have a heart attack.

The halakha also would make a VERY strong argument against having GMO's that leak pollen to neighboring farms and pollinate those forming infertile offspring, or that kind of thing. That's my sense of what's most impotant to take from this. I'm biased perhaps but that's what my gut feeling is telling me.

I've reached out to someone who might know, and I"ll google around a wee bit more.

There are plenty of other rules on the books that no one cares about today anyway.

BUT--here's the thing--let's say you buy food at the supermarket. YOU DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS GROWN IN ISRAEL IN VIOLATION OF THIS HALAKHA, whether in spirit or in letter! SO, all the more reason to take things back into your own commmunity's hands. Which is what this is all ultimately about . As long as one community isn't disturbing the earth too much at the expense of other communities, keep kashruit and karry on.

 
Nick Kitchener
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Interesting topic, and something that has crossed my mind a few times.

On the surface, these laws do seem to contradict what is happening in the natural world. In situations like this, the best practice is to look at the interpretation of the law and re assess it. The number of rules (interpretations of scripture by man) far outweigh the actual rules God laid down, and many of these were unfortunately made with alternative motives in mind.

The context of a prohibition on mixing seed I believe comes from Genesis 6. When the watchers descended on Mt. Hermon, they imparted certain knowledge to mankind, one of which is referred to as "the cutting of roots". This is generally interpreted as pharmakea, as it is mentioned in the same sentence as enchantments in the book of Enoch. However, a literal interpretation of this applies equally well to grafting.

The whole action by the watchers was an attempt to draw mankind away from God, and corrupt the human genome. With a corrupted genome, it would be impossible for Eve's seed to crush the head of the serpent as prophesied by God in the garden. If the prophesy could not come to pass then the word of God is fallible. As Genesis 6 points out, they succeeded in corrupting the seed, and it took the flood to cleanse not only the human genome but the genomes of the animals too. Following the flood, there was a huge effort to wipe out the nephilim tribes that contained remnants of this genetic corruption in their population and that of their livestock.

With this in mind, I can see why the Levitical laws regarding "mixing seed of different types" was enacted, and I strongly believe that this doesn't apply to polycultures because genetic material is not altered or mixed. You aren't "mixing seed", but rather cohabiting plants IMHO. Mixing seed would involve artificial genetic modification, hybridisation that doesn't occur in nature, and grafting.

It wasn't until very recently that our technology has enabled true "mixing of seed", so it's understandable that the religious rules that formed around these scriptures developed the way they did.

Hopefully this sheds a new light on the subject and helps in some way.
 
Cj Sloane
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Dave Burton wrote:Wouldn't your god understand and forgive you?


Hehee. Have you read the Old Testament lately? Really, not that kind of god.

As a Jewish woman raising pigs... I don't ask for forgiveness, just a chance to debate the issue.
 
Cj Sloane
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
I'm looking in to how to encourage the Jewish community to grow edibles in yards.


I would focus on trees and other perennials even though the commandment doesn't apply to the diaspora.

Selling points for my people?
Control: (you know your fruit wasn't sprayed if you grow it yourself)
Money: so many ways to play this!
ROI: (One $25 tree will last hundreds of years and produce thousands of pounds)
Interest/dividends: (much greater yield than the measly <1% you get with a CD)
Real Estate: Boosts the value of your house to have bearing fruit trees
Health: Fruit and Veggies from you own property/biome is the best for you
 
R Scott
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Cj Verde wrote:
Dave Burton wrote:Wouldn't your god understand and forgive you?


Hehee. Have you read the Old Testament lately? Really, not that kind of god.

As a Jewish woman raising pigs... I don't ask for forgiveness, just a chance to debate the issue.


Forgiveness is the new testament.

Almost every old testament rule has a valid modern scientific reason if placed in context. So what was the context that mixing seed was bad for them? Thinking of the grains they grew, was there two that looked similar but had starkly different value?. Tares among the wheat.

 
Tina Paxton
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Dave Burton wrote:I'm a tad curious. According to many religions, a god created the universe. If said god created everything, then that god knows how all the ecosystems in the world operate...


Yes, He does know how the ecosystems work. He knows better than we can ever understand it.

"Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? [Job 38:12-13 NIV]

Dave Burton wrote: and how permaculture strives to feed the world and repair the world by mimicking natural ecosystems.


Permaculture is a good philosophy. But, it is just that, a philosophy. Men's philosophies and best reasonings can never be on the same level of God's because we see through a glass darkly. I embrace permaculture because I see in it elements of God's teachings (in the Torah, Proverbs, and Psalms, and NT scriptures) on our role as Steward/Caretakers over the earth. Our role is to care for the earth and the animals. We are to act in humane ways toward each other and toward animals. But, ultimately, Permaculture is not my god, God is and His word is my authority, not Permaculture.

Dave Burton wrote:Following that line of thought, your desire to create a permaculture system has the intention of doing good. Would your intention of doing good cancel a violation of that line of the Torah? Could one say that they are striving to make a system that said god had intended?


No, regardless of the "intention", if we go against God's Laws, we are sinning. If we follow God's Laws and teachings, our actions will result in good, not bad.


Dave Burton wrote:Not quite the best thing to ask, but would anything bad really happen for mixing the seeds?


Would the world come to an end? No. But, will one's relationship with God be harmed? Yes. When we willfully go against God's Laws, we separate ourselves from Him.

Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy. [Lev 20:8 NIV]
"Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. [Lev 19:2 NIV]

Dave Burton wrote:Wouldn't your god understand and forgive you?


Would He forgive us? If we repent, yes. But, it isn't about trying to convince God that our way is better...or about doing what we want and repenting later. It is about accepting that He is wiser than we and that His ways are higher than our ways. It's about wanting to be holy as He is holy so we can be in relationship with Him.

Dave Burton wrote:I don't know, so please excuse me if my questions seem silly.


No need to apologize (to me anyway). I think your questions are valid and asked in a respectful way. I hope my response is taken in like manner.

(And, keep in mind that I'm speaking from a Christian perspective not a Jewish one but I think I'm pretty close to the mark on how they might respond to your questions.)
 
Dale Hodgins
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Most of the Jewish people in Victoria are liberal. Liberals tend have much smaller families and to be doing much better economically than those who wear traditional black clothing.

I have some friends who still practice some traditional things but they don't allow their lives to be controlled by decisions made in the late bronze age. There are so many camps that a person could go with. They chose to join the one that allows them the most freedom.

There was a lot of concern for purity of food and of ethnicity in the old testament. I wonder if some of these prohibitions are related to the desire to keep themselves separate. Some of the rules seem to serve no other purpose other than to define the observant as Jewish.

Politics within Israel is often broken up into camps that are very firm one way or the other on certain issues. The litigious nature of the rule book often puts different groups at odds with one another. This rigidity has polarized many sects who are hung up on certain issues where compromise is not an option.
 
Tina Paxton
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Most of the Jewish people in Victoria are liberal. Liberals tend have much smaller families and to be doing much better economically than those who wear traditional black clothing.

I have some friends who still practice some traditional things but they don't allow their lives to be controlled by decisions made in the late bronze age. There are so many camps that a person could go with. They chose to join the one that allows them the most freedom.

There was a lot of concern for purity of food and of ethnicity in the old testament. I wonder if some of these prohibitions are related to the desire to keep themselves separate. Some of the rules seem to serve no other purpose other than to define the observant as Jewish.

Politics within Israel is often broken up into camps that are very firm one way or the other on certain issues. The litigious nature of the rule book often puts different groups at odds with one another. This rigidity has polarized many sects who are hung up on certain issues where compromise is not an option.


The range of Jewish sects are about as wide as the range of Christian sects. And, when the points of "compromise" have eternal consequences, it is unlikely that there will be a willingness to compromise. That may be hard for liberal sects to understand but for conservatives, it is a very big deal.
 
Cj Sloane
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Dave Burton wrote:Not quite the best thing to ask, but would anything bad really happen for mixing the seeds?


The actual answer to this is flogging.
 
Tina Paxton
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Cj Verde wrote:
Dave Burton wrote:Not quite the best thing to ask, but would anything bad really happen for mixing the seeds?


The actual answer to this is flogging.


Are you sure about that? I believe the general consequence was stoning....could be wrong since no consequence is listed next to this sin...but in the same chapter, disrespecting one's parents was punishable by stoning...
 
Cj Sloane
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R Scott wrote:
Almost every old testament rule has a valid modern scientific reason if placed in context. So what was the context that mixing seed was bad for them? Thinking of the grains they grew, was there two that looked similar but had starkly different value?. Tares among the wheat.

No, it really is anti-poly culture. Specifically says don't plant wheat in the vineyard.

Modern scientific reason? Certainly anti-GMO don't mix genes of one species with the genes of another. Supposedly it's anti-grafting but if it's the same species that should be OK.

I think this is a Neolithic concept which cannot be reconciled with what happens in the natural world (that we want to emulate). But there is one little twist. I could argue that a guild of mixed species that performs better together than apart is, in fact, part of a "family" or let's say "super species."

The only guild/association I have for Grapes is Mulberry.
 
Tina Paxton
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Cj Verde wrote:
R Scott wrote:
Almost every old testament rule has a valid modern scientific reason if placed in context. So what was the context that mixing seed was bad for them? Thinking of the grains they grew, was there two that looked similar but had starkly different value?. Tares among the wheat.

No, it really is anti-poly culture. Specifically says don't plant wheat in the vineyard.

Modern scientific reason? Certainly anti-GMO don't mix genes of one species with the genes of another. Supposedly it's anti-grafting but if it's the same species that should be OK.

I think this is a Neolithic concept which cannot be reconciled with what happens in the natural world (that we want to emulate). But there is one little twist. I could argue that a guild of mixed species that performs better together than apart is, in fact, part of a "family" or let's say "super species."

The only guild/association I have for Grapes is Mulberry.


True. From what I've been able to find terms of explanation...the practice was forbidden due to some religious/cultic/witchcraft stuff going on next door. Again...this was a way to separate them from their neighbors and their neighbors' religious practices. No tattoos was in that same line...
 
Cj Sloane
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I'm going to have to mulled this one over for a while. There are lots of prohibitions against all kinds of mixing and yet... Jews have been "mixing" with other cultures for 3000 years. I guess the key is how to mix cultures, people, plants, and remain distinct individuals.
 
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Cj Verde wrote:I'm going to have to mulled this one over for a while. There are lots of prohibitions against all kinds of mixing and yet... Jews have been "mixing" with other cultures for 3000 years. I guess the key is how to mix cultures, people, plants, and remain distinct individuals.


Yes, indeed, it is a complex question. Even in the OT accounts we see that "agreeing to adhere to the Law" and actually doing it were two very different things. Which, from a Christian perspective, was kinda the point -- that we CAN'T keep The Law in and of ourselves. But, that is a whole other issue.

More to the point here is how to encourage Permacultur-ish practices amongst a group trying to adhere to the laws of their religious faith. Is it necessary to pound home the point on mono-culture from the starting gate? What other foundation steps can be encouraged first? Do the rabbis teach the need for prepping? is the community into horticulture at all?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Oh, just wantd to add, my whole point in getting into this discussion was that temples have some things that can be used:

1) land
2) people
3) ethics (including plant for the future)

OK, maybe they're in no particular order. But point is, I walk down the street and i see yards with grass in them. "All the flesh is as the grass...and the grass withereth and the wind passeth over and the place thereof shall no it no more." ANd then it erodes and then you know there was grass there because it is going down the sidewalk and into the drain. And it costs them a lot of water and they are begging the community for money for their heating bill (this is the Unity Church I'm thinking of here, but on the same street. I was going or churches and stuff, but thought of making a sub-focus of Judaism since I speak the language more in a sense, having been raised Jewish-ish). I can't cut their heating bill so easily, but I can help them with their whopping water bill they're paying for all that grass. And amazing cool beautiiful edibles could be growing there!!! So, I thought, Wouldn't it be nice if they got the permaculture bug and stuff!??

AND, separate topic here kinda--i also think it's worth noting that people in the time of Leviticus knew a heck of al ot more about agriculture than I know. I mean, they could actually DO it, for them it was an actual experience. I have never actually successfully livd off the food I have cultivated. THey have. So, just as I have some open-mindedness and a modicum of humility to go along with my amazing handsomeness when I read something a farmer says today, I want to pay attention to something that the folks back then believed. Maybe there's more of a reason for it than I know, and maybe there's more of a context. What would it mean to someone who actually really knew farming and vineyards vs. what it means to me? ]

Permaculture includes indigenous wisdom about cultivation and nature, and stuff about what's worked for a long period of time.

If you decided to follow these rules and Isaiah's , could you still do a permaculture (sustainable) design? I think so.
--small areas are one crop
--not planting wheat in the vineyard (you can plant other grasses, or not weed out other grasses, if they're helpful. remember, at the time your pesticide was your hand. or a natural predator. Not glyosulphate (can never spell that)
--not hybriding a frankensheep that is part flax genes and part sheep and fights crime at night, because that would be a Monstrous Hybrid and because you'd be so conscumed with power that you'd want to patent it and then steal the legal power to making frankensheep or any ot her kind of sheep from all your neighbors and all of the people and then you'd really have to be smitten

Also, i must confess--I REALLY like bread. I mean, bread bread. Gluten bread. I don't want to live without it. Sourdough, sprouted wheat bread (but not with added wheat gluten). nd I like having some lawn space, some open space you can just run around and lie in the grass. I don't think it's a good idea for every lawn you walk past on the street in a city here, because it doesn't feel so great ther, but having some areas that are lawn-y areas is cool.

Variety is the spice of life, and polyculture is the somethingorother of permaculture. SO, I want my polycultures to include a few monocultures too.

Sort of like the Hebrews/the Jews being this one monotheistic group among all these polytheistic peoples. It's all perfect, there's something right about each thing. And it all works together in a really neat unfolding.

OK, done with my high horse. Just have t odo this though:

Knock knock.

Who's there?

I'd like to talk to you about a man named Bill Mollison.


 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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OK, getting somewhere. I found the passage in hte Mishnah (interpretation of Torah) that talks about this stuff.

I wonder how they even had all these questions in like 1490 (I think that's when the Mishnah was written)? I mean, the story I was always told was "they took away our land." And the stuff about being OK to mix an Egyptian Gourd with a Greek Gourd --what climate is this talking about??

ANyway, there's stuff in here about burying something next to a vine to promote growth (seems fine) and not grafting one fruit tree to another (but apple to crabapple is fine, I THINK) Read it for yourself. I may be making mistakes here.


http://www.emishnah.com/PDFs/Kil'ayim01.pdf

It's fascinating just how much stuff they talk about that indicates how many permaculture practices were common at the time, whether among rogue Jews or gentiles!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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and wtf does this mean

Rabbi Yehudah says, It is not kilayim unless there are two
wheat grains and one barley grain, or one wheat grain and two barley grains, or
a wheat grain, a barely grain, and a spelt grain [since Scripture says, “You shall
not sow your field with two kinds of seed,” (Leviticus 19:19) it follows,
according to Rabbi Yehudah, that the sowing of two diverse seeds becomes
prohibited only when it is on “your field,” i.e., on ground in which at least one
other seed has been sown; the prohibition thus applies only to the sowing of a
minimum of three seeds, either all three different, or two like seeds and one
different from them.



I don't have any idea what this means. I'm not supposed to plant two different kinds of seeds. So I can plant seven? 18? a hundred thirty eight? or is the problem only if I'm sowing my own seeds on my own field? if I sow my neighbor's field then it's OK? and then if they sow my field it's OK? did you get off the subject here, Rabbi Yehudah?

Then to make things even more confusing, the Mishnah goes on to say that the law does not follow Rabbi Yehudah. (Can't imagine why.) But then why bring it up in the first place??

No wonder they then had to write the Gemarah. The Interpretation of the Interpretation of the Torah. 2 billion pages long, no index.

I see an image of Paul doing his sepp holzer impression cursing at someone on the other side of the valley and then the translation from the German: The government does not understand.
---
Well, by this score, I think sowing your lawn with grass seeds and chemical fertilizers ought to be just peachy, but at the same time, sowing it with a polyculture as long as you're not going to eat it seems just peachy as well.

If by "peachy" I don't mean literally peachy, cause that would be mixing a totally different genus with your grass.

Maybe it can be used as an argument for absolutely anything. Or maybe the rabbis really had no idea what it meant and were just speculating.

 
Tina Paxton
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Well, you know, there was this other Rabbi around 30-ish AD who was a bit radical in his views of the Talmud. Seems he thought all the zillion rules created to "help" folks follow The Law was just a bunch of "putting men's traditions in place of God's". or something like that. Anyway, as you say, the "interpretations" can be quite confusing and look alot like trying to get around the letter of The Law so they could do something (or not do something, depending) that is in The Law. There is nothing new under the sun...we love to find ways to justify our actions and circumvent the laws we don't like.

I think it is quite an easy process to introduce permaculturish practices to conservative Jewish communities. But, first, you have to get to know them. Find out where they stand on gardening and such first. You may save yourself from having to reinvent the wheel...or bring them out of Egypt...for no reason...

 
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