by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Tonight we light six candles, the lights in our home grow ever brighter, but as we add to the “Litany of Harm,” we know that there is darkness in many corners of the world, and so we add also to our “Call to Action,” and consider a sixth way to move our lives forward in a way that adds light to the world.
Hanukkah Night 6:
The Litany of Harm:
For all those in island nations, where rising sea levels and superstorms threaten their very existence. We stand in witness!
For all coastal cities and villages, where storm swells and flooding put lives and homes at risk. We stand in witness!
For all those who suffer from tropical diseases, and those at risk from spreading diseases and heat waves. We stand in witness!
For farmers and all who eat, as droughts ruin crops, incomes, and food supplies. We stand in witness!
For people of color around the world, who are at risk from climate change and environmental injustice. We stand in witness!
For the human populations, plants, and animals who are losing or have lost access to enough fresh water. We stand in witness!
For the countless animals who suffer in factory farms, in a system that causes misery and carbon pollution. We stand in witness!
For all the habitats already lost and which are disappearing. We stand in witness!*
For the endangered mammals, plants, birds, insects, and all the species we will never discover. We stand in witness!
For the burning rain forests. We stand in witness!
For the warming oceans and the dying choral reefs. We stand in witness!
For the mountaintops removed, water supplies poisoned, and oceans spilled with oil. We stand in witness!
The Call to Action:
We’re ready to act because we have a favorite place on Earth that we want our great-grandchildren to experience. With love in our hearts, Compassionate One, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because somewhere we heard John Muir’s voice, reminding us that in the beauty of nature we see the beginning of creation. With beauty in our hearts, Creator, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because someone in our life once shared something with us – something we needed; something we could not live without – and we want to do the same for the next generation and beyond. With generosity in our hearts, Holy One of Blessing, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because we’ve read texts we consider sacred, and they make clear that the Earth is a gift, and we are stewards of that gift. With responsibility in our hearts, G!d of Judgment, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because the blessing of life has allowed us to see the ways our lives are all connected with one another in a web of mutuality. Affirming the web of life, Mysterious One, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because the most basic moral instruction at the core of every world religion is the call to love our neighbors as ourselves; … and we regard future generations as no less our neighbors than those who live next door to us today. Affirming all people alive – and yet to be born – as our neighbors, G!d of Life, move us to action. **
We add a sixth action to our commitment to ourselves.
For the sixth night, we consider our neighbors, those in our own communities and those around the world, who are mired in poverty, who go to bed hungry at night, and whose children die of starvation. What can we do to help them? How are we able to assist one person, a family, or a community? What are we able to give, financially or through our talents and skills, to change the plight of those with little or nothing?
Here are my commitments on this sixth night of Hanukkah:
Eloheinu v’elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu, Our G!d and G!d of our ancestors, give me strength on this third night of Hanukkah, and help me to re-dedicate myself to remembering that I am created in the image of the Holy One of Blessing, to eating organic, local food, to speaking out about racism, to maintaining my values in my finances, to writing to my representatives or local paper about climate change and social justice issues, and to supporting the hungry.
How is your list shaping up?
Chag Urim Sameach – Happy Hanukkah,
* by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman
** by Rev. Jim Antal