Honorable Mensch-ion

Eternal Light

I remember the first time I saw that the ner tamid, the eternal light, was not lit. It was a harrowing experience. As I grew older, I saw the lamp not only as an object, but as a motivating factor of God’s presence. The Torah teaches that this light should be tamid, eternal. The Rabbis ask, “What is eternal?” Should it be continually or should it be constant? Sefer Hachinuch, the book detailing the 613 mitzvot, instructs us that the underlying purpose of kindling the flame is to increase the grandeur of the Temple and thus glorify our own hearts with this light as well. As human beings, we are affected according to our actions, by the light we let into our lives. God does not need a synagogue to exist, but we need a synagogue to dedicate a place for God to exist. God does not need commandments to exist. Yet, we need mitzvot to engage with God on a daily basis.

We read the megilla this week and learn “The Jews of old had light, and happiness, and joy, and love-may it be so for us!” As we look at the eternal light, let us be reminded of the source of that light, and how we can contain that brightness in the days ahead.

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