July 2017 - Catch the Spark

    As I write this article, the days are getting longer and we are enjoying more daylight.  This is one of the things I love about the summer.  Come with me as I shift into how we are reading in the Torah about the light of the menorah in the temple, as prescribed in the Book of Numbers.  Another kind of light, but equally inspiring.

    The Torah tells us to let the light travel up on its own after the kindling of the lights.  This can apply to the 7-branched menorah, or even to the Shabbat candles.  But what does that mean?  The light should reach up on its own?  There is a literal meaning and a figurative one.  When you kindle a light, you don’t know if it has taken root unless it is ignited and burns on its own after you take away the match.  Sometimes it doesn’t “take,” and we try again. 

    And, this is also a metaphor for education.  It is not enough to teach someone a skill or a theorem or a lesson.  We must watch as our students turn the learning into action on their own and apply it themselves.  The learning has to burn on its own, like the flame.

    So, as we teach our children to know and love Judaism, we transfer the fire that is Judaism to ourselves and to others, both intellectually and emotionally.  This way, it burns within all of us.  Catch the spark!  It will brighten your life and the world.

L’hitra’ot, until next time!