What Hanukkah Can Teach Us About Preserving Sacred Space
Hanukkah, a festival of light in the darkness of winter, shares much in common with other religions that also emphasize a light motif in overcoming the negative feelings that human beings often associate with extended darkness. The frightening darkness that so many experienced in the aftermath of Sandy, and many are still experiencing, was a stark reminder of the effects of climate change.
The Hanukkah story of the oil in the Temple — a measure enough for one day that lasted for eight — speaks to the intentions and motivations that must underlie our efforts at conservation and our work to slow climate change. The theme of Hanukkah is the rededication of sacred space. In order to preserve the oil to make it last, the Jews in the story needed to appreciate the true value of the oil and the source from whence it came.