I wrote this piece for Dan Sieradsky’s “Radical Torah” site. It still applies:

Oy! The world! Environmental devastation, global warming, George Bush, war, hunger, tyranny. Will it ever end? Where’s the hope?

I was attending a Rainbow Gathering in the Allegheny National Forest in western PA in 1992. It’s a lush, emerald green forest, overflowing with vibrancy and life. Talking with a Forest Ranger whose life was caring for this land, I asked him its history. He told me that back in 1922, the forest was clear cut. And not long after there was a fire. As there was no natural protection remaining, it became scorched earth and was never reseeded by man. Every species and genera of tree, flower, herb, weed and grass that emerged was not previously indigenous the land. After a minute, I was thunderstruck. Now I understood.

The Creator, speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel, says, “Lo Bishveelchem Ani Oseh Et Zeh! Rak Al Shem Kadshee! – Not for you will I do thing, but rather for My Holy Name!” Just this week the news reported that the window for mankind to arrest the planet’s environmental deterioration is closing fast. There is real fear that in the words of Grateful Dead lyricist and activist for the freedom of the internet, John Perry Barlow, “we will leave this place and empty shell.”

While others despair, I draw hope and trust. Tu b’Shvat says that spring doesn’t begin when you can see new life emerge in the ides of March, but rather much earlier, under the surface, when it’s not yet apparent. I trust in the ancient revelation of the Creator, that the Shekhina will manifest as Mother Earth and protect its Creation. Knowing that the clock is not only ticking, but accelerating, gives me the strength to endure, that the Ultimate Redemption must be soon at hand.

Tu b’Shvat reminds me of the words of the modern day Prophet, Bob Marley, when he said, “Do not fear from atomic energy….We’ve got to fulfill the Book” So shed fear and despair, eat, drink and be merry this Tu b’Shvat and celebrate the marriage of the promise of the Creator’s Words and Works with your own redemptive and elevated conscious awareness and environmental caring and action.

And always remember that when others speak only of doom, there is a Great Hidden Light waiting for your to reveal. See you on the job.

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