by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
On this last night of the Festival of Re-Dedication, we light all eight candles, we complete the “Litany of Harm” and the “Call to Action,” and we add one last item to our list of promises to ourselves for the year to come.
Hanukkah Night 8:
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!
For all who make their living from our addiction to fossil fuels.We stand in witness!
For our own roles in using and wasting energy. We stand in witness!
For all of us, and our children and their children, who are living and growing up on a changing Earth. We stand in witness!
For the courage and strength it takes to face climate change with love and hope. 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’re ready to act because we want to be part of the solution. Affirming the gift of creativity, Almighty, move us to action.
We’re ready to act because the G!d of Many Names is a G!d of hope, and as people of hope, we will not stop until the people of the world embrace new habits, new practices and new aspirations that will extend to countless generations the bountiful creation into which we were born. As people of hope, G!d of Many Names, move us to action.**
We add the last item to our list.
For this last night, we consider how we behave toward those around us. What can we do better in our individual relationships? Where are our weaknesses? Our strengths? What do we wish we could do better when we are interacting with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others around us?
Here are my thoughts for this last night of Hanukkah:
Eloheinu v’elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu, Our G!d and G!d of our ancestors, give me strength on this last 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, to supporting the hungry, to matching my words and actions to my beliefs and values, and to treating others as I wish to be treated.
What does your complete list look like?
As you go forward through this year, I invite you to keep your list with you. When you are feeling in need of strength, recite the prayer you have created to ask G!d for help. When you are feeling on top of the world, recite it to remind yourself of the work you have to do. Reflect on your successes. Feel gratitude for what you have been able to do. Search for the strength to go ever deeper in bringing light and joy and goodness into the Universe, and making G!d’s presence manifest in the world.
Hanukkah Sameach – Happy Hanukkah,
* by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman
** by Rev. Jim Antal, adapted