Torah teaches us that as Passover begins we must clean from our houses all traces of "chumetz” -- leavening, yeast, whatever makes our bread rise and our cucumbers turn sour.
The Hasidic communities interpreted this to mean whatever makes our selves, our egos, swell up and turn sour. So Passover, they said, is the time to get rid of the Pharaoh inside us, what turns us from "grown-ups" to "blown-ups," whatever tugs us toward domination rather than community.
In our generation, this certainly means moving away from the habits that dominate, subjugate, and endanger Mother Earth. In our generation, energy is food. And the most dangerous, most ego-swelling chumetz that we "eat" are fossil fuels. Burning them is the most dangerous thing we do because the C02 and methane this emits are burning up our planet.
So let us make a commitment this Passover that we will take the steps to clear our common home, our Earth, from this destructive chumetz.
At the Seder, let us make three pledges to each other:
1. During or very soon after Passover, we will invite ten of our neighbors to gather in our living room to discuss what it would mean to create a neighborhood solar-energy co-op.
2. During the next two weeks, our senators and congressmembers are at home. We will invite the same ten neighbors to make an appointment to meet with one of these officials to urge that they support national policies to heal our Earth from the climate crisis, and that they will oppose all efforts to impose upon us the chumetz of burning fossil fuels.
3. During Passover, we will send serious contributions of money to organizations that are bringing deep spiritual values into working for eco-social justice and against the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs at three levels -– to heal our neighborhoods from asthma caused by coal dust and oil-refinery fumes; to heal whole regions from the poisoned air and water caused by oil-bearing pipelines; and to heal the Earth and prevent climate chaos by moving quickly to the use of wind and solar energy.