Friday, July 29, 2016

It's All Prophecy, the Precious Lights

“Every candle lit for a mitzvah (such as the Shabbos candles, Chanukah, in a synagogue, etc.) is extremely holy. If we would have ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Seeing – The energy that enables us to see deeply into and beyond what the eyes are seeing), we would perceive the future when we light the candles, because the candles lit for a mitzvah tell prophecies. They are like when the prophet would speak (and tell us) what he heard…”
--Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Koidanover, (d. 1712), an eminent Talmudic, legal, and kabbalistic master, author of Kav HaYashar, an ethical-kabbalistic work.

I learned about this in Chanukah and since then I place the candles that my wife lights on Shabbos in a place where I will be able to have constant view of them. I have found a way to have the oil remain until the morning. When I walk into the room the first thing on Shabbos morning, they are there, surprising me each time with their brightness, coming into my vision as they do after a dark night.

I go to their place. I sit with them. I say brochas (blessings) in front of them. When I feel like it I sing and I say Tehillim (Songs of King David) and always, I look at them. And if I stay longer, I start to ask myself, What are these lights all about? What can they show me, teach me, lead me to, bring me into? Will I discover a new world there, a new way of seeing reality, a new language? Will I understand the language, even be able to speak it?

I look at them more, each one of them, all of them. They’re there for me, for each one of us, created exclusively for each individual. They will dance their exquisite dance, play their exquisite song for me, and tell me what I need to hear, what I have been waiting to hear. They ask only one thing: That I be willing to allow my neshoma, my soul, to be present.

It sounds simple enough, but can I do it? All they ask for is my neshoma. And in return, if I am willing to wait for their timing, they present a vision and sing a song. Coming from these lights, my lights, I recognize the vision and the song as unmistakably mine. And they are speaking in a language I understand, without words.

A note on the opening quotation: A contemporary Chasidic teacher comments: “We don’t perceive these prophecies but we must know that the candles are speaking to us…and on some level our soul does perceive the messages. What the candles tell us make an impression in the depths of our sub-conscious and soul.”

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