Hi everyone; we need to talk. You haven't been doing your job. Look how long it's been since my last post? How am I supposed to be responsible if you keep letting me get away with stuff like this? In other news, I might be looking for a new blog title; "Open Source Judaism" isn't as original as I thought. There's not another blog by that name, that I've found, and I definately like the imagery but I don't want to step on any toes. So we'll see.
It's a new holiday! I learned a lot about Hannukah this year, but none of it inspired me to write. What I've been thinking about is oil. On Chanuka oil is a symbol of our freedom, of military triumph, and miraculous delivery from oppression. In our modern world, though, oil is become symbolic of the oppression itself. Currently the world faces a bad economy, an ugly war, and looming environmental crisis all of which trace back, at some point, to oil.
And this is our freedom?
We celebrate by burning oil lights, and eating food fried in oil. But the food we eat every day is grown in oil, covered in petrol-based pesticides and nurished by oil-derived fertilizer. How does cooking it in oil remain different or signifigant? And when the people gathered around brightly burning oil are not happy families but exhausted soldiers, what then?
The history of Judaism has been a gradual journey closer to HaShem; sometimes physically, sometimes intellectually, sometimes spiritually. When the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple they had only enough oil for one more night, but HaShem made it last for eight. Scientists tell us our oil supply is running out, possibly within our own lifetimes; we have only enough for one more generation, and it's our turn now.
Imagine if we were able to change our habits and make our oil last for eight more generations instead of just one. Or turn it around; what would it mean to the world if we each cut our oil consumtion to one-eighth its current level?
Of course, I did say our journey is towards HaShem, not that we're there already, so I'll cut us some slack. What if we could only reduce our oil use by one-quarter? Or half? Granted, if Chanukah was only two nights instead of eight, it would be less of a miracle. But it would be a great start!