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Essential Green Oil
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

It is well-known that the chemical pesticides used in modern agriculture are harmful and contaminate soil and fresh water supplies. Residues of the pesticides cling to the fruits and vegetables they helped grow, and enter our bodies, especially affecting young children. An Israeli company, BotanoCap, is in the forefront of developing natural, non-toxic pesticides that will control insect damage to crops while not harming the environment.

BotanoCap uses natural, essential oils with proven insect-fighting effects. A problem with using these oils in their natural state, however, is that they tend to diffuse too quickly and lose their potency. BotanoCap’s innovative solution is to encapsulate the oils with polymers to retain their potency, and then suspend them in a water-based solution. The oils are released slowly and diffuse through the soil for maximum efficiency.

The innovation of BotanoCap was making these natural pesticides available in a form that is compatible with current methods of delivering pesticides to crops. He understood that the challenge of convincing companies to switch to more environmentally friendly methods could be considerably alleviated if they did not have to make major changes in their pesticide delivery systems.

*  *  *

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, explaining the difference between exile and redemption, points out that the Hebrew word for exile, Golah, differs from the Hebrew word for redemption, Geulah, by only one letter. This letter is an Aleph, placed in the center of the word. With one letter, one transforms Golah into Geulah.

What does the Aleph represent? The Rebbe explains that it represents Alufo shel olam—the Master of the world. To change exile into redemption, it is not necessary to create a new world or radically alter the old one. All that is needed is to introduce Aleph—the Creator—into the world, and it automatically becomes transformed into Geulah. Our ordinary, everyday activities become Geulah activities when they are infused with a sense of meaning and purpose—a G-dly purpose, to reveal His light in this world.

To transform agriculture along more environmentally friendly lines, it is understood that the methods must be consistent with present day practices. This way there will be less resistance and fewer obstacles in the path of implementing change. Similarly, it is not our daily routines that we must change as we prepare for Redemption. Rather, all we need to do is introduce Geulah into our routines themselves, by asking ourselves, “How does what I’m doing reveal G-dliness in the world, and help prepare it for Redemption?”

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.


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