This week I learned a lesson about light from a rabbi.
I’m not Jewish but I was invited to a public lighting of a menorah candle. The rabbi spoke warmly, and genuinely to explain the symbolism of the candle lighting and hanukkah.
Afterwards people mingled and had some food, and the potato latkes were delicious. I digress from the lesson, but they were really yummy.
As an illustration as he spoke the rabbi briefly talked about fire and water. He confirmed with a firefighter present that the bigger the fire, the more water needed to extinguish a fire.
However, not so with darkness. Darkness needs only a candle to beat back darkness, more darkness does not vanquish a candle. The rabbi used this metaphor for darkness in the world and people’s lives. He encouraged us to light our own candles and keep them lit. He said light a candle for someone else or help them to light their own.
I empathized with this metaphor because I walk at night often. I used to rely on reflective material but it is useless it is reflecting light, as in you are still invisible and I once had a jogger almost run over me in the dark. However even the smallest LED light is visible a great distance away, and so I wear a light and I carry a flashlight as an extra precaution.
It is winter, dark and cold but I hope that we can all light a candle for ourselves, or help someone by being a light, dispelling the dark of loneliness, addiction, or helping to someone else light their candle and keeping us warm as well.
I think the rabbi was right, let’s all be candles. It can feel sometimes like we aren’t doing much to help, but if that candle goes out, then you really see the difference it makes, and dark times calls out for light, even a small one.
As I look toward 2018, this was a lesson I was thinking about, and at this time of year when people are rushing about, shopping, buying – I liked the lesson about less doing amazing and thinking we all can do amazing with less than we think.