As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
When such a genuine Jewish home is created, it can only be sustained through pirsumei nisa – through a public, proud, and pronounced Jewish identification. Therefore, says Rav Huna, the guarantee for children maintaining and sustaining Yiddishkeit is not institutional Judaism, the Judaism of buildings rather than people, but Ner Shabbat and Ner Chanukah. Why? Because Ner Hashem nishmat adam – God’s candle is the soul. Jews for whom institutions and buildings are paramount possess no neshamah. They have no lights.
One critical question remains: How does a Jew learn to distinguish and observe the inner meaning, the hidden mysteries, the mystique of Jewish candles? The answer is inherent in the one remaining candle – the Havdalah candle. To understand the light of Judaism, one needs to be reminded that our Sages instituted for the Havdalah to be recited in Shemoneh Esrei adjacent to the blessing and request for wisdom – da’at. We ask of God, the Source of all knowledge, to grant us knowledge, understanding, and discernment, for without wisdom how can we distinguish between holy and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and all other nations, and between Shabbat and weekdays?
With the bright light not of single wick but of the great torch of the Havdalah candle composed of many wicks, we can understand that indeed we possess human shortcomings requiring bedikat chametz. We can be cognizant of Shabbat’s beauty and peace. We can demonstrate Chanukah’s pride and pirsumei nisa.
If we possess no wisdom and knowledge, we cannot differentiate between good and evil, light and darkness, sacred and profane. If we possess no Jewish wisdom and knowledge, we cannot differentiate between Jew and non-Jew, halachic and non-halachic Jew, chametz and matzah, Shabbat and chol.
If we possess no basic education and wisdom, how can we observe and differentiate? How can we bask in the candlelight of God’s great glory and enlighten our own existence? It is not enough to be holy; to be a Jew is to also be wise.
Our candles teach us the deepest message of God’s light.
Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, serves as OU Kosher’s vice president of communications and marketing.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.
The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.
UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites
Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.
Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.
Jews cover the head not as ID but because wearing it makes concrete to ourselves our devotion to God
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations
Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”
Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jewish-candles-the-power-of-discernment/2011/12/21/
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