What's With the Candles?
By Aaron Moss
I notice that lighting candles is a big part of Judaism. We light candles every Friday for Shabbat, we light candles on every festival, and Chanukah is all about candles. What is the connection between candles and spirituality?
There is something about a candle that makes it more spiritual than physical. A physical substance, when spread, becomes thin. Spirituality, when spread, expands and grows.
When you use something physical, it is diminished. The more money you spend, the less you have; the more gasoline you use, the more empty your tank becomes; the more food you eat, the more you need to restock your pantry. But spiritual things increase with use. If I use my wisdom to teach, the student learns, and I come out wiser for it; if I share my love with another, I become more loving, not less. When you give a spiritual gift, the recipient gains, and you lose nothing.
This is the spiritual property that candles share. When you use one candle to light another, the original candle remains bright. Its light is not diminished by being shared; on the contrary, the two candles together enhance each other’s brightness and increase light.
We sometimes worry that we may stretch ourselves too thin. In matters of spirit, this is never the case. The more goodness we spread, the more goodness we have. By making a new friend, you become a better friend to your old friends. By having another child, you open a new corridor of love in your heart that your other children benefit from, too. By teaching more students, you become wiser.
Keep lighting your candles. There is an endless supply of light in your soul. You will never run out of goodness.
Reprinted with permission from chabad.org