Each week is a week like no other. July 4th signifies independence, summer, and fireworks. Yet, tomorrow, we celebrate without fireworks, without gatherings, without the sparks in the air.
The first July 4th fireworks were set off on July 4th, 1776, just one year after the founding of America. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported the ships were dressed with the colors of the United States and streamers displayed. The evening concluded with a grand exhibition of fireworks. While we may not see the sky lit ablaze, our tradition encourages us to light a spark in our lives each and every week.
Lahdlik ner shel Shabbat–we are commanded to light a candle to bring in our sacred day. The Rabbis teach the word “ner,” candle, is an acronym for nefesh, breath, and ruach¸ spirit. That is the essence of fireworks. When we see a display of sparks in the sky, we must do more than appreciate its beauty. We then have the obligation to keep that spark alive, make it glow continuously, allow that spark to enlighten others.
In a world where we now feel much more dependent than independent, let this July 4th be like no other, recognizing the internal fireworks that will lead us to a brighter day tomorrow.