Elijah's Covenant to Heal the Earth: Between the Generations at Bar/Bat Mitzvah Time


[This practice was developed by the "Green Menorah" project of The Shalom Center.)

Immediately after the completion of the Bat/Bar Mitzvah aliyah and the return of the new bat/bar mitzvah to her/his seat in the congregation, the rabbi, chazan, or other congregational leader asks everyone under 13 to walk up to the front of the congregation and to turn and face those who are 13 or older.

Then the leader says: "At the very end of the books of the prophets, Malachi (3: 23-24) says on behalf of God: "Here! -- I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of that great and awesome [fearful] day of YHWH [the Lord, the Eternal, the Breath of Life, Yahh], so that he will turn the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to the parents, lest I come and strike the earth with utter destruction." -- "Hinei! -- Anokhi sholayakh lachem et-Eliyah haNavi lifnei bo yom YHWH hagadol v'ha'nora. V'heyshiv lev avot al banim v'lev banim al avotam pen avo v'hikeiti et-haaretz cherem."

"Today," the leader continues, "The world is in danger through the climate crisis of global scorching. That crisis has come upon us through our addiction to the over-use of fossil fuels, pouring so much heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere as to destabilize the climate of our planet.

"Today, we must join -- older generation and younger generation, parents and children -- so that the future of the web of life on our planet and the future of human civilization can be protected.

"The parents and the children must listen deeply to each other, educate each other, pray with each other, act alongside each other -- turn their hearts and minds and bodies and souls to each other – so that the earth can be sustained for future generations."

"So I invite all who are able, to stand facing generation to generation. If you are willing to commit yourself to this covenant between the generations, please open your heart to learn what single act you can now commit yourself to do."

After a pause, the leader says: "Please turn to the person next to you and say what action you have undertaken.

"Now please say after me this pledge. Please do not say it aloud unless you mean it in your heart. First I will say it all the way through, and then passage by passage, for you to repeat:

[First say the whole passage below, then repeat with a pause after each line to let the whole congregation repeat that line.]

I covenant with you that I myself
will take on the task
of Elijah the Prophet --
to turn my heart toward yours,
so to act that the earth
will be sustained,
that it will be healed
from global scorching.
I covenant that together with you
I will listen, learn, pray, and act
to make this healing real. "

Leave some quiet time, and then say: "Please return to your seats."

Copyright (c) 2007 by The Shalom Center. Please do not reproduce without permission.
If you use this ceremony in your congregation, please write us at Office@theshalomcenter.org Please also considering inviting the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrants to contribute to The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119. – Thanks.


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