Occupy Wall St–It’s Everywhere where Corporate Power Shapes our Lives, So You Can Occupy it in Your Hometown too!
Cross-posted from Tikkun Daily.
by Rabbi Michael Lerner
The prophet Isaiah stood outside the ancient Israelite Temple and denounced those fasting on Yom Kippur who nevertheless were participating in an immoral society. Said Isaiah (in a statement that is now read in synagogues around the world on Yom Kippur morning though its message mostly ignored when it applies to some Jews' participation in some of the most exploitative practices of Western capitalism or in support for the current right-wing government of Israel even as it engages in oppression of Palestinians):
Look! On the very day you fast you keep scrabbling for wealth; On the very day you fast you keep oppressing all your workers. Look! You fast in strife and contention. You strike with a wicked fist. You are not fasting today in such a way As to make your voices heard on high. Is that the kind of fast that I desire? Is that really a day for people to "press down their egos"? Am I commanding you to droop your heads like bulrushes And lie around in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast day, The kind of day that the God of the Burning Bush would wish? No! This is the kind of fast that I desire: Unlock the hand-cuffs put on by wicked power! Untie the ropes of the yoke! Let the oppressed go free, And break off every yoke! Share your bread with the hungry. Bring the poor, the outcasts, to your house.When you see them naked, clothe them; They are your flesh and blood; Don't hide yourself from them! Then your light will burst through like the dawn; Then when you need healing it will spring up quickly; Then your own righteousness will march ahead to guard you. And a radiance from YHWH will reach out behind to guard you. Then, when you cry out, YHWH will answer; Then, when you call, God will say: "Here I am!" If you banish the yoke from your midst, If you rid yourself of scornful finger-pointing And words of contempt; If you open up your life-experience to the hungry And soothe the life that has been trampled under foot, Then even in darkness your light will shine out And your moments of gloom turn bright as noonday. Then the Breath of Life will always be your guide, Will soothe your own life in your own times of dryness And strengthen your bones when they are weary. Then you shall be like a garden given water, Like a wellspring whose waters never fail.Those who spring from you shall rebuild the ancient ruins And you shall lay foundations for the coming generation. You shall be called "Those who mend torn places,"You shall be called "Those who build lanes to live in." If you refrain from trampling my Renewal-time (lit.: Shabbat) And from being busy-busy on My holy day; If you will not only call Renewal-time* delightful But also turn far from your usual way And set aside your business and your chatter To be yourselves the rays by which God's Holiness Can turn this world into a radiant joy ---Then indeed you will find delight in YHWH.
For then --- when you have joined the lowly ---I will set you all with Me, Astride the heights of earth.Then --- when you feed others --- I will let you eat your fill From what is truly due you as the heirs of Jacob. Now! For this word come from the Mouth that Breathes all life. (ok, Arthur Waskow's translation is a bit of interpretation and commentary too--but it's totally accurate to what Isaiah was really saying, and what most Jews and Christians and everyone else ignores when they think of what their religion or anti-religion is trying to tell them).