by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf
"For God's candle is the soul of man." (Proverbs)
The flames of the menorah are small and silent.
On the first night of Chanukah we light one candle. Small and silent. We walk into
the room and we barely notice its presence. Like our souls, the flame is
there. But very subtle.
As we hurtle through days filled with noise and confusion, it's easy to lose
track of our souls. There are family obligations, kids, school, the office,
dating, vacations, the six o'clock news, the fortunes of our favorite teams,
making dinner, reading E-mail, getting the car fixed, returning overdue books,
returning calls, paying bills, and surfing the Web.
And somehow... amidst all of this we're supposed to remember that each of us has a
soul. That deep down our inner essence wants to do more than run errands. That
we yearn to touch the infinite, luminous, divine, transcendent dimension...
The lighting of the menorah creates a new space in our lives. A space where we can,
for awhile, divest ourselves of everything else that tugs at us and focus on
the "deep down" of life. Who we truly are deep down. What about our
inner self we deem to be precious. What we want to do with this brief time we
call life, what we want to stand for, and who we want to be - deep down.
Each night of Chanukah, ponder "deep-down" issues. Ask yourself a question, and then
sit quietly in front of the silent glow of your menorah, listening for the soft
sound of your own inner flame. It may take a few minutes or even longer, but be
patient and the answer will come.
When it does, write down your answer. After the first night you will have one
answer. The second night you'll have two. And by the last night of Chanukah,
both the menorah in your home - and the flame deep within your soul - will be
glowing more brightly.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
"Deep down, what I truly want is...
"I feel most in touch with my soul when...
"What can I do tomorrow that will in some way express the deepest part of
who I am?"
"If I could give myself one piece of advice for keeping in touch with my
deepest aspirations, what would I say?"
"If I could give my spouse, child or best friend one tip for not losing sight
of the most important things in life, what would I say?
Reprinted with permission from the author. Avialable at http://www.leviathanpress.com.