The Prophetic Green Menorah: A Tree of Light

On Shabbat Hanukkah (this year, Nov. 29-30), we read an extraordinary passage from the Prophet Zechariah. Speaking during the Babylonian Captivity, he envisions the future Great Menorah, taking its sacred place in a rebuilt Holy Temple. The Menorah he imagines is alive! -- a cybernetic organism, a living Tree that bears the sacred Light.

Zechariah, in visionary, prophetic style, goes beyond the Torah’s description of the original Menorah (literally, a Light-bearer). That Menorah was planned as part of the portable Shrine, the Mishkan, in the Wilderness.

First Zechariah describes the Menorah of the future that he sees: “All of gold, with a bowl on its top, seven lamps, and seven pipes leading to the seven lamps.” It sounds like the original bearer of the sacred Light. But then he adds a new detail: “By it are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and one on the left.” (4: 2-3)

And then –– in a passage the Rabbis did not include in the Haftarah reading for Shabbat Hanukkah – –- Zechariah explains that the two olive trees are feeding their oil directly into the Menorah (4: 11-13). No human being needs to press the olives, collect the oil, clarify and sanctify it. The trees alone can do it all.

Now wait! This is extraordinary. What is this Light-Bearer that is so intimately interwoven with two trees? Is the Menorah the work of human hands, or itself the fruit of a tree?

Green Menorah Covenant Coalition: Personal, Congregational, & Public-Policy Changes to Avert Global Scorching

The Green Menorah is both a tree made up of branches and a Tree made up of Light, as the Torah describes the Temple Menorah (Exodus 25: 31-39.)

It is the symbol of a covenant among Jewish communities and congregations to renew the miracle of Hanukkah in our own generation: Using one day's oil to meet eight days' needs: doing our part so that by 2020, US oil consumption is cut by seven-eighths.

We invite you to join in this covenant to heal our planet and our human race from the climate crisis of global scorching.

When Death breaks into the Torah-study & the Life-breath leaves the Mishkan

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 2/14/2005

This past Shabbat (T'rumah), our congregational Torah-study was exploring the two different sorts of sacred space described in the weekly reading.

And in the midst of our talk, a distraught member of our community came running red-eyed, short of breath, into the room to report that a community member had just died, at home.

Carrying the Sacred Space of Freedom

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Carrying the Sacred Space of Freedom: T'rumah

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow*

Almost fifteen years ago, the gay community in America began to make a Quilt.

Each square was made by the friends and family of one person who had suffered and died of AIDS

Subscribe to RSS - Teruma