Tonight is a special Shabbat.
It is the first night of Hanukkah, that desperately needed time of renewal which bolsters our spirits when things appear to be at their darkest.
It is also the first week of the Copenhagen conclave on which we set our all-too shaky hopes that the world will turn from its self-destructive ways and commit to pursuing life lived in harmony and justice within the renewing capacity of earth.
This weekend, around the world, people will hold candlelight vigils to call out this message (organized by http://www.350.org). Adding our lights, and our voices, to this effort is easy for us to do, for our Hanukkah candles will already be blazing in our windows.
Please dedicate the lighting of your candles both to the incomparable story of the intrepid Maccabees and all who fight for freedom and justice, and to the healing of our over-burdened natural world.
The fight for justice and the fight for sustainability are, after all, intertwined. Naturalists tell us that every species alive today occupies a distinct niche within their ecosystem. There is, for better or worse, no absolute redundancy in nature. If one species has evolved to thrive in one niche, no other species will do so. Each species is unique unto itself. When it is lost, a hole is made in the universe.
As it is in nature, so it is with us. We too each fashion ourselves in response to the place we inhabit in our stretch of the world. The world makes us even as we make the world. It is the unique combination of the various pieces of our personal world that forms who we become. Each people, each culture, each individual, is irreplaceable. It is in such a niche that we develop the gifts and talents that define us, which no one else has in the same abundance and combination. When one person, one people, one culture is lost, a hole is made in the universe.
It is only when we come together, then, in nature and society, joining piece to piece, that we can begin to grasp the vision of this grand puzzle we call life.