Friday, December 19, 2014

Today's MOZEN. The Festival of Lights. 12/19/2014

Words by F LoBuono
As of this writing, we are in the midst of Hanukkah, a.k.a. the Jewish Festival of Lights. Its origins and traditions are ancient, dating back to the Second Century, B.C. Basically, it celebrates the victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, over their Greek-Syrian oppressors. The great Temple of Solomon, the symbol of the Jewish people, once destroyed by their enemies, was rebuilt and rededicated with the lighting of the Menorah, or ceremonial oil lamp. Originally, there was only enough oil for the lamp to burn for just one day. However, miraculously, the lamp burned for eight days - enough time to locate and secure more sacred to oil to burn, theoretically, forever.

This year, however, it seems so hard to find the light. Fanaticism, cruelty, barbarity, and greed seem to be in ready supply while kindness, compassion, wisdom, and generosity are sorely lacking. Recently, the barbaric ISIS murdered, in the coldest of blood, over one hundred and thirty school children in Pakistan. How can we turn away? How can we not be ANGRY and OUTRAGED? Atrocities like this make it easier to be hard. Easier to say no. We feel that it makes us less vulnerable. We think that the only way to end cruelty is with inflicting even greater, more vicious attrocities on our enemies. But, does meeting this brutality with even more brutality really make us better or even safer? This question came clearly into focus with the Senate's recent report of the use of torture by the US on those we consider enemies of the State.

ISIS needs to be stopped. Their level of cruelty has no place in the world. However, meeting their level of barbarity with an equal or greater amount of our own will solve nothing. We must find a way to finally stop the never ending cycle of violence. Remember, nothing happens in a vacumn. They hurt us. We hurt them even worse. And on and on. Therefore, to accomplish this, it will take a new way of thinking - one that transcends our baser needs for revenge and blood letting. We must step out of the darkness of hate and anger and into the light of acceptance and kindness. It brings to mind a friend's posting that I saw on Facebook. It was written in celebration of  The Festival of Lights:

You cannot chase away darkness with a stick. You have to turn on the light. The way to eliminate darkness - to rid the world of ignorance, negativity, hatred and greed - is to kindle the lights of knowledge, generosity, hope, and love.

Chag Sameach

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