It is all too easy to see so many situations in the world—on the local or global scale—that seem dark and bleak. Consider the old proverb, “Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” Find one step that you can take for light,for healing, and do it today.The light you share today can illuminate education, dialogue, tzedakah (justice, charity), or truth. You can volunteer to help a disadvantaged student, clean a local park, or feed the homeless. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by national and global problems, but our world is also here, in front of us, and we are co-creating it day by day.
Thus said God YHWH, Who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; Who gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to those who walk in it: “I YHWH have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light to the nations: to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and those who sit in darkness, out of the prison house.”
For me, being a “light to the nations” includes supporting Jewish organizations that work for human rights and freedom for all people. Organizations like T’ruah (the rabbinic call for human rights) and the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center use Jewish values to vigorously pursue social action agendas centered on human rights and civil rights. For myself and my community, helping refugees is a major priority. HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has worked for over 130 years to assist refugees and immigrants, and with today’s global refugee crisis their work is more crucial than ever. I also find it more important than ever to engage in interfaith and multicultural initiatives, and I discover many beautiful opportunities through my local region of the AJC. Supporting the American Jewish World Service is a way to help people around the world have lives of greater prosperity and dignity.
Whatever our chosen path of activism, we can do the most by joining our own small light with others to light the way.
כָּל אֶחָד הוּא אוֹר קָטָן
וְכֻלָנוּ אוֹר אֵיתָן
Kol echad hu ohr katan, ve-chulanu ohr eitan.
Each one alone is but a small light, together offering powerful sight!
–from “Banu Choshech Legaresh,” an Israeli Hanukkah song by Chayim B. Alevsky
Consider and comment: What candle will you light today?
Featured Image: “Candle,” Petr Mika, via Flickr