There really are no coincidences… It’s amazing how things just seem to connect and support each other at the same time. But then again, that is Hashem… and when we give ourselves over to this… to understanding all that Hashem does and is, it all makes sense.
Right now, it’s all about the lights, especially because we are celebrating Chanukah. Tonight is the third night, in fact… and as we kindle and celebrate lights and survival and miracles, my brain glows with stories and analogies.
Last week, I wrote about the need to celebrate all of the miracles that surround us, big and small… and how the everyday, take it for granted, oil lasting for one night should have our attention and observation and respect, just as the other seven nights do.
There are miracles all around us.
Today, I’d like to continue to talk about “light” and the need for all of us to find our inner light… to allow it to illuminate the darkness, to let it shine and guide us… and lead the way.
The light and burning flame plays such a vital part in Judaism… and Jewish mythology and story telling.
When one wraps Tefillin, you say:
“May You pour goodly oil upon he seven arms of the Menorah to cause Your good to flow to Your creatures.”
I love saying that.
I love the notion that many have spoken of… that the flame of a candle can give completely of itself, without diminishing its own existence or brightness.
An eternal flame never diminishes. Perhaps it changes shape, or alters itself from time to time, but it lives on and on, and yet can still give of itself… over and over, like the Shamash (the “attendant” candle) lighting the other Chanukah candles. One into many.
The analogy is clear… We can give of ourselves and do mitzvahs and share our light, without taking anything away from who are. In fact, I would argue that it actually makes us shine brighter.
My friend Julian brought up the light bulb theory. In each bulb is a negative and positive filament. If they touch, they will provide a burst of light, but then the bulb will pop or explode.
One moment of brightness… and then BLAM! Darkness… the bulb has lost its purpose.
But… If the current flows between them, then the light wins out… It shines each and every time.
Darkness is only the absence of light, and if there is a light shining, it can never be dark.
If you live in a positive way… and put that out into the world, then you will shine… and you will illuminate others…
Though we must keep in mind that a flame is a powerful thing. It can illuminate, but it can also destroy.
It can guide the way, and warm us… and without it, it can plunge us into darkness… lost, cold and shivering.
A flame can destroy lives, buildings, people. When a house is ablaze, flames shoot bright and high and then, sometimes in an instant, they are gone… and all that is left are smoldering ashes… charred wood… dark… black… dead.
That is reality. We see that every day, and yet, I would like to focus on the positive… That light is a beacon… a lighthouse guiding ships and sailors, and well… us… to safety and to the shore, out of harm’s way and the rough and violent seas.
Some may read this and think it is more “general” than Jewish… but the ideas and notions that are within me and moving me, all stem from studying with Rabbis… studying Torah and Kabbalah and now the Tanya.
We are the light of the nations. Judaism and it’s study will brighten the world, will illuminate and shine.
That’s what it means to me… and on a holiday that celebrates with lights, it seems like the perfect time to continue the discussion.
Lastly, here is a little something I wrote the other day. Chag Sameach to all of you!
May your heart be a candle
And your life be a light
May your dreams burn so brightly
Through the days and the nights
May you find peace and joy
Music, laughter and bliss
For my family and friends
I wish you all this
Happy Chanukah! Miracles are all around us… All we need to do is open our hearts and souls and minds… and our eyes! And know that we are all a light… all a Shamash that can inspire and ignite and share the glow and warmth.