Three holy festivals are upon us: Eid al-Idha, the Festival of the Sacrifice; Thanksgiving, when we celebrate the abundance that could feed our planet joyfully; and Hanukkah, the festival of Light in time of darkness, Hope in time of despair, Rededication in a time of desecration.
On our Website and on YouTube we have just emplaced a delightful serious/ funny three-minute reminder of what Hanukkah is really about. Light the light in a time of darkness! Don't let the light go out! View this delicious video, called "The Hammer Song," by clicking here.
Hanukkah reminds us to conserve our energy sources and especially reduce our burning of oil, and to remember that oppressive power-holders like the Emperor Antiochus long ago and Big Oil today can collapse when the people gather to rededicate themselves to the Breath of Life.
During these very days, the Muslim world is celebrating Eid al-Idha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. It recalls the moment when our common Father Abraham heard the ultimate teaching of the Infinite: “Do not kill your son!”
Many of us look with horror or bafflement at Abraham's willingness to kill his child, bragging that we would never do such a thing. But when we send our youth to fight, die, and kill in an illegitimate and unworthy war, one that eats up our ability to feed our own poor and to build the schools, bridges, community clinics, art centers, that we need to nourish us– how is that different from child sacrifice?
As Abraham substituted the ram for his child, in memory of that moment Muslim families today purchase meat (usually lamb) and divide it in three parts: one-third for the immediate family, one-third for the extended family, one-third for the poor. As they share their food with the poor, so may we all join in acting on God’s command:
Stop the war;
Feed the poor!
The Quran teaches us that the One Who is infinite shaped humankind in many diverse cultures and communities so that we could learn from each other’s glorious gifts, not pour hatred, contempt, and violence upon each other.
May we all take this wisdom to heart as we learn deeply, each of us from our own tradition, the teachings of compassion –— and in this way learn to transcend those other teachings or practices of fear and hatred that may appear in all traditions to divide us against each other.
And such thoughts and feelings can lead us straight to Thanksgiving. As we celebrate the harvest this year, let us keep this truth in mind:
Hunger –- stark hunger –- is not only rampant around the world, it is growing in America. Certainly synagogues, churches, mosques, temples must try to feed the hungry –- but it will take a concerted effort by us all to end this disgusting blight upon our wealthy country.
Congress is regathering. We should be demanding that it renew long-term unemployment benefits at once, that it reduce taxes on the poor and the middle class but NOT pour still more money into the mouths of the super-rich – the 2% of our society who own 45% (and rising) of the wealth.
You can use our model letter to write your Congressmember, or you can revise the text as you see fit, by clicking here. This Thanksgiving, we must celebrate abundance not only by eating of it but also by sharing it. Tell Congress! You can use our model letter to write your Congressmember, or you can revise the text as you see fit, by clicking here.