A Bisl Torah

You are the Candle

We are entering the darkest moment of the year. The sun sets in mid-afternoon, temperatures drop, and a rainy season has begun in California.

And it feels as if we are living out one of the darkest moments of Jewish history.

Jewish high school and college students feel abandoned. Congregants ask if they should wear their magen david necklaces in public. A general fatigue and anxiety looms. What does the future hold for Jews in America and around the world? We are quickly learning that our relationships must be reexamined and reinforced, education about the history of our people and current events should be at the forefront of priorities, and Jewish identity strengthened and fortified.

Our future lies within our hands. In a sea of darkness, we cannot expect someone else to bring their light. It doesn’t mean a friend or stranger won’t offer their blessings of goodness and peace. But the past eight weeks have been a stark realization that to expect light, we are responsible for creating light ourselves.

My favorite nights of Hannukah are the first and last.

The first: a hopeful candle piercing the night. One spark symbolizing the impact of just one person. One person’s light is enough to brighten a room.

The last: a striking image of light combined. A reminder that with light intersecting, we have the power to change the world.

My least favorite day in the Jewish calendar is the night after Hannukah concludes. Hannukiahs with melted wax. Candles put away for another year. Empty pockets where flames once stood.

Perhaps, I have missed the entire point of the holiday. In our hardest, most agonizing moments… during this gut-wrenching time in Jewish history, we have no other choice but to find light where it seems nearly impossible.

The answer is clear:

You must be the candle. A bearer of light when there is none.

As the Sfat Emet teaches, “A human being is created to light up this world.” Light-producing is our obligation.

Search deep within the crevices of your soul. There is a candle ready to be lit. A candle placed by God.

And Your light is precisely what we need.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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