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Having Enough

In a programme marking Hanukkah, rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand examines our culture of materialism and abundance, and the prevalent feeling of not having enough.

In a programme marking Hanukkah, rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand examines our culture of materialism and abundance, and the prevalent feeling of not having enough.

In the story of Hannukah, the Maccabees - a band of Jewish rebels - have only enough oil to keep the fire in their temple alight for a single day following its desecration at the hands of the tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes. God intervenes and the Maccabees' flame miraculously burns for eight days. Hanukkah is often thought of as a festival of light, but Shoshana argues that its central teaching is about "having enough".

Contrasting our fate in the west with that of countless people worldwide for whom securing basic food and water is a struggle, Shoshana remarks that it's peculiar that westerners seem unable to settle upon a level of material wealth. Instead, we try to accumulate as we cling to the notion that having more will make us happy.

Drawing upon the Buddha's teachings, Shoshana explains that eastern religions have an outlook that views all human suffering as stemming from the human experience of desire. The Book of Exodus, with tales of manna falling from heaven, also provides insightful teachings on learning to consume responsibly and avoid excess.

Shoshana concludes that abundance is not a healthy state to be in, but neither is deprivation. The challenge is having enough - not too much and not too little - and finding peace when we have all that we need.

Presenter: Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
Producer: Max O'Brien
A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 Dec 2017 23:30

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Today’s programme was presented by Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand

The producer was Max O’Brien

 

Title:                Amadeus

Author:            Peter Shaffer

Publisher:        Penguin Classics

 

Title:                 Gone With The Wind

Author:             Margaret Mitchell

Publisher:         Simon and Schuster

 

Title:                Enough: Breaking Free of the World of Excess

Author:            John Naish

Publisher:        Hodder and Stoughton

 

Title:                How Much is Enough?: Buddhism, Consumerism and the Human Environment

Author:            Dr Richard Payne

Publisher:        Wisdom Publications

 

Title:                Exodus 16:31-34 - King James Bible

Publisher:        HarperCollins

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