December 2014

It’s Chanukah time, and winter is here, so I’d like to address the issue of ‘man-made climate change.’

No, I’m not referring to the weather – I leave that to God and the overwhelmingly powerful nature He created.

I refer, rather, to the climate that people change every day – at home, the workplace, school, and synagogue, to family, friends, colleagues, and others – by virtue of our words and actions. People are very powerful – we can bring civility, positivity, joy, creativity, love, and meaning to almost any place, setting, or group in which we find ourselves. Or we can choose to bring the opposite.

Do we choose to be forces of darkness, sourness, unpleasantness, discord, and negativity, imposing all this on others, thus bearing responsibility for terrible climate change?

Or, preferably, do we – in keeping with the wonderful holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights – choose to be forces of light, bringing brightness, grace, blessing, and optimism to our surroundings, thus being responsible for a most pleasing and delightful climate change?

So yes, we have the power to change the climate in many places and situations. It is up to each of us whether to be a person of dark clouds and storms, or a person of bright and clear sunshine.

On this Chanukah, may we each commit to improving the climate around us – to speak and act as forces of light! Chag urim sameiach – happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Jonathan Pearl

NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of Rabbi Pearl's recent Op-Ed/Opinion piece published in the Jerusalem Post, and which you can find online at

Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, Ph.D.