Last night my beloved Reb Phyllis and I lit the eight candles of the last night of Hanukkah, creating a sacred glow of light to dispel the darkness of this time of year.
Not only the dark of moon and sun. We did this in a time of deep darkness in America, as twenty little children and some of their teachers lay dead, each one shot many times by a killer bearing a rapid-fire rifle.
Besides these candles, what light must we light as we live through this moment? Are the candles only consolation, or also the light and heat of condemnation?
REMEMBER: THE FIRST SEVEN:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
LIGHT A CANDLE TO END THE MURDERS: CALL THE NRA. In our “Action” section on our Home Paget is a brief description of how to do this at Noon tomorrow (Monday) and through the week. It should not take more than five minutes. Keep in mind: In 2011 there were 11, 101 murders in the United States caused by firearms (30 a day).
Why should we do this? — Imagine twenty children dying in a hospital of an infection that is also known to have killed clusters of children and adults in other places.
Tears for the dead and their families, prayers and heart-felt words to comfort them?
AND – would we turn at once to stop the deadly infection at its source, rather than let it go on killing?
If we discovered that the source of this infection was a purveyor of disease dropping its deadly bacteria into public reservoirs, for the sake of its own greed for more wealth and power, would we empower ourselves to stop them from poisoning our country?
Would we say that on the day these children die, we should halt our efforts to seek and end the causes of their death?
Of course not.
Would we instead turn our tiny candles into a mighty searchlight, redoubling our efforts to end the source of this deadly disease, so that a nation aroused could cure itself and save its children?
The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is up to you and me.
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Now: —- Think not of an allegory but of a factual, true story:
The mass killings by rapid-fire guns are an infection that arises time after time in vulnerable places – schools, houses of worship, colleges, consumer malls. And we know the source of that terrible infection.
In that true story, the NRA is the deadly purveyor of the poisonous disease of gun violence.
For years, it has prevented cities, states, and the Federal government from enacting even obvious measures like prohibiting the sale of rapid-fire assault weapons.
No decent hunter of deer needs such weapons. Nor will they provide protection from the crazy nightmare of a governmental army massing with tanks and mortars and jet bombers to oppress and murder our own citizenry.
It is an alert and awakened grass-roots politics — focused on free speech, assembly, and religion, on the prohibition of torture and of the imprisonment of millions for nonviolent crimes — that prevents any government from becoming oppressive.
It is nurturing a culture of nourishment and community, not fear and hatred and the easy instruments of murder, that prevents such tyranny.
Is it an accident that America has been getting weaker in these crucial grass-roots commitments to preserve democracy during the very years when the purveyors of the gun disease have gotten stronger?
So for me, as the dark and dreadful news came pouring out on Friday afternoon, it was natural to mingle anger with my sorrow.
As Phyllis and I lit the candles last night, we recalled the Prophetic passage from Zechariah that we read in synagogue yesterday morning:
- Calling us to cleanse the High Priest of his clothing that had become filthy from his own and his people’s sins, and to clothe him anew for a newly sacred society that would strive again to become a Beloved Community.
- Calling us to restore the sacred Temple of God’s Presence within our selves and within our country.
- Calling us to light a living Menorah that casts light within us and among us because it can draw abundant olive oil from two living olive trees, planted right next to the Golden Tree of Light.
And when Zechariah asks God’s messenger what is the meaning of this Living Tree of Light, YHWH’s Own self answers: —
“Not by might, not by violence, but by My Breath/ Spirit/ Wind — sometimes a Hurricane of necessary justice — says YHWH Tzva’ot, YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh, the Infinite InterBreathing of the world.”
Superstorm Sandy called us to make a Hurricane of nonviolent social change to save our planet from the climate crisis of overburning fossil fuels and from the modern Pharaohs who are bringing plagues upon our planet. In the same way, so the Newtown murders call us to a twin Hurricane to curb the overweening power of the NRA to facilitate the murder of our children.
The two diseases share the same virus: Domineering arrogance, toward the Earth or human earthlings.
The Rabbis taught that God awakened to the tyranny of Pharaoh when a child enslaved cried out in pain and suffering.
Our children are weeping. The dead are crying out. Time for us to awaken.
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
In our “Acttion” section on the Home Page, see our suggestion on how to call the NRA
Blessings of peace to you, on behalf of all those who will die this coming year in the USA if our laws are not changed. (In 2011 there were 11,101 murders in the United States caused by firearms — 30 a day.)