Candlelighters

a place for women who cherish the Torah ~

Light, Candles, Action!

The world is unquestionably a dark place.

Evil triumphs over good. The ubiquitous Hallmark cards instructing us to “follow your heart” are a stark contrast to most devious is the heart, it is perverse-who can fathom it? [Jeremiah 17.9]

Lust seduces purity. We’re bombarded with false messages about what makes us desirable as women, and over time these messages can begin to sound true. Constant resistance against sly deception is hard to maintain. But shouldn’t our continual prayer be fashion a pure heart for me, O G-d; create in me a steadfast spirit? [Psalm 51.12]

Self-centeredness conquers charity. “Look out for number one.” “What’s in it for me?” Putting yourself first is taken for granted in society today. On the contrary, Torah promotes brotherly love and kindness. One of the greatest mitzvot is to give generously.

Amid the bleakness of despair, the cloudiness of immorality, and the blackness of sin, we have the light of Yeshua HaMashiach, Or HaOlam [light of the world]. As His followers, we radiate the love and holiness of G-d.  We are lights, maybe small ones, but lights nonetheless, gleaming through the murky fog of worldliness. Even a little light dispels a great deal of darkness. In a sense, each of us is a candle. By living a testimony of G-d’s mercy, we let others know of the One True G-d. We spread the light. We light the candles.

Candles are also part of the weekly shabbat. G-d commands us: You must keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages… [Exodus 31.13] As the sun sets Friday night, families gather together for the shabbat dinner, but before the kiddush can be sung or the challah bread can be broken there is an important ceremony. The lady of the house -or one of her daughters- covers her head with a veil, strikes a match to light the two shabbat candles, circles the flames with her fingers to symbolically draw the light into her home, and recites Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights… We, women who keep the mitzvot of HaShem, are those mothers. We are those daughters. We light the candles.

Once lit, a candle is on fire. It gives off heat, and burns steadily until the wick is consumed. Fire is a perfect metaphor for passion – it’s strong, sometimes raging, feeding on whatever it can to grow in intensity. Shouldn’t our passion for Torah be like this? If we believe that praiseworthy is the person who obeys Your commandments and takes to [her] heart Your teaching and Your word, if our prayer every single day is enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments, and unify our hearts to love and fear Your Name, if our desire is not only to keep the mitzvot but to teach them thoroughly to [our] children… then shouldn’t we be passionate about Torah? The best part is, we don’t only have the teaching of Moses. We have been redeemed by Yeshua, the Living Torah! The ‘pesukei d’zimrah’ for shabbat expresses this excitement:

Blessed is HaShem forever, Amen and Amen! Blessed is HaShem from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem, Hallelujah! Blessed is HaShem, G-d, the G-d of Israel, Who alone does wonders! Blessed is His glorious Name forever, and may all the earth be filled with His glory, Amen and Amen!

G-d is deserving of our passion. By rejoicing in our salvation, giving praise and glory to the L-rd, making the greatness of our G-d and the beauty of His Torah known to those around us, we fan the flames of belief. We ignite contagious enthusiasm. We fuel a fire of passion for Torah around the world. We light the candles.

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