Light and candles have always had a deep and symbolic meaning in Judaism. The light of the Torah and the warmth of a Jewish life teach us the lesson of eternity. They represent the view of life, the everlasting love the Almighty has for his nation, and our love for Hashem, the Torah and mankind. This light burns so brightly that it will never be extinguished. In Shir HaShirim, Shlomo HaMelech mentions that even great waters cannot quench the fire of this strong bond.
As we have spent so many days and nights quarantined in our homes, our thoughts were anything but confined. They seem to have traveled at the speed of lighting with visions appearing from all over the globe. Everything and everyplace was shut down. No shuls, no schools, and most businesses closed as we witnessed what seemed to appear as dark times. Will our lives ever go back to normal?
We need to remember our purpose and mission as Jews, which is to illuminate the world. A little candle goes a long way in a dark world. For thousands of years, we have been obsessed with lighting candles. Throughout the generations, we have ushered in Shabbos and Yom Tov with candles, and ended these special days with fire as well. On Chanukah, we spend an entire week surrounded by candles and burning flames. We set the world ablaze on Lag B’omer and light a Yahrtzeit candle to commemorate the neshamos of those who have passed away and entered the next world. The eternal flame (the Ner Tamid) is another light which can be found in shuls all over the world to commemorate the days of the Beis HaMikdash. This light sits above the aron kodesh that contains our precious sifrei Torah.
Perhaps our obsession with lights is simply trying to access a spiritual light, which is more powerful and has existed since the beginning of time. This bright light emanates from our neshama, which is the fiery flame that exists in each and every one of us. As we know, the physical world is merely a reflection of the spiritual world and the neshama can be compared to a burning candle. Fire always rises and grows and eventually fades away. So, too, a flickering candle reminds us of the fragility and importance of life and how precious and cherished it should be.
As we light candles on Erev Pesach, to usher in the Yom Tov of the geulah commemorating our exodus from slavery in Mitzrayim, let us thank Hashem for all the amazing miracles he performed. This is also a most auspicious time to fervently daven for those who need refuos and yeshuos. Let us always remember that we are part of a people that is a shining light unto other nations. Instead of wasting precious moments worrying about what the future holds in store, we can choose to embrace freedom and live in the present. Let us remember the purpose of Pesach and fill our hearts with joy and gratitude. As we embrace leil shemurim, let us remember that b’zechus nashim tzidkonios niglah ha’olam and access the power of this special night. It has always been a night that Hashem has performed miracles and is mesugal for nissim. May we all merit to usher in the geulah with the coming of Moshiach and see refuos, yeshuos and besoros tovos for all klal Yisrael.
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