Eco Rabbi – Hanukkah and the Importance of Spreading the "Green" Message

hanukkah-lights green eco rabbi

This week we begin our celebration of the festival of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. The main event of Hanukkah is the lighting of the Menorah, a candelabra.The Menorah has 9 arms, one for each day of the holiday, plus one more candle for lighting the other ones.

One of the lessons of Hanukkah is that if you want to spread a message, you need to vocalize it and announce it to everyone. Everyone who celebrates Hanukkah looks forward to walking through their local community during Hanukkah at night and seeing all the lights in the windows. I think that we should take a page out of Hanukkah’s book to understand how to spread the importance of treating our environment better.

The reason for lighting the menorah is to spread the message of Hanukkah. To announce to everyone how the Jews overthrew the superpower, Greece, who were oppressing them. The Greeks forbade Jewish worship and defiled our temple. We overthrew them, despite being small in numbers, and reclaimed our temple and right to religious autonomy.

The rules specify that the Menorah must be lit in a place that can be seen from the street, and during an hour that people will see the lights. These rules are discussed at length in order to assure that the message inherent in the act of lighting is properly communicated. The message being, that we are announcing our victory. That with the help of God, even a small minority can overthrow a tyranny.

Spreading the message of treating our planet well is important. One needs only to see the melting polar ice caps to understand that global warming is not a myth. And there are more and more beaches which testify, through their filth, to how destructive we are being to our oceans. We are living in the generation that has to reverse the terrible habits we have developed, or we may not be leaving anything to our children.

Be the candle to your friends and colleagues. Be that beacon of light. A candle can be a word, an idea spread. It does not take much. A candle can light other candles without depleting from its own light, and the more candles are lit, the brighter the light becomes.

A candle is deceptively small. But by burning a little wax at a time, it can bring light for many hours. Similarly, the act of spreading the message of creating a healthy world need not be big. For example, some people add the following statement to their email: “Be nice to our planet. Please do not print this email unless you truly need to.” With every email they send, they bring into the consciousness of the people that they email the importance of our planet.

Let us take this holiday to brighten our world and bring a better future for us all.

Image Credit: WWWorks

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