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Light it Up

Friday, 12 June, 2020 - 1:56 pm

Canva - Child boy and mother playing..jpgImagine a small gold cup full to the brim with pure olive oil with a wick leaning on its side waiting its turn to share its light. Suddenly a lamplighter approaches and momentarily stalls next to the wick and behold there is a spark and a hiss and then the wick lights up. The lamplighter pauses momentarily to make sure that the wick is burning independently and now beginning to give its own beautiful light and glow, and only then does it move on to the next cup of oil waiting to be lit.

Imagine a person overflowing with G-d given potential and with talent and capabilities ready to be fired up, sometimes though just waiting for the spark that is going to ignite the flame and cause this person to begin to shine. Along comes a lamplighter, a teacher or another good person, and pauses with their own flame, with their own care and touch, next to the wick that is waiting to be ignited. Suddenly it catches, and the flame begins to shine, first just a little and it might sizzle out, but the lamplighter persists and keeps the heat on, so that the flame can become its own light. The flame gets stronger and the lamplighter can move on, and now all the fuel and potential begin to flow into the flame of the human being as they begin to share their own unique light with their environment.

The above theme is highlighted in this week’s Torah portion which describes the High Priest lighting up the seven branches of the Menorah, which were all made out of one solid hammered piece of gold. Each branch represented another way of serving G-d and the various human emotions that go along with the challenges and growth of life, yet they all had their own cup full of oil with a wick waiting to be lit. The High Priest would come along and not overwhelm the wick with its own fire, rather he would seek to share some of his flame so that he could ignite the flame and potential for light that was inherently there in the cup of oil.

While this was true of what happened in the Temple, it has a much more profound meaning for how we touch and inspire others. We need to realize that it is not necessarily your light that you are imposing on someone else, rather your job is simply to provide a spark that can ignite the latent potential that is already there waiting to be harnessed.

Yet as we seek to bring light to the world around us, first of all we must make sure that our own light is burning, in the sense that we represent truth, that we represent compassion, that we represent toil and productivity, and that we represent a life of Mitzvos, good deeds and connection to the teachings of Torah and morality.

Now we have a flame….

But then comes the next part, which is not about imposing and forcing our light on others, rather it is about providing the spark that will ignite, so that each G-dly candle in this world, can become a sustainable flame that brings out and cultivates its own unique latent light and potential.

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