I would like to share some beautiful insights into the parallelism that exists between the soul and the flame on a wick that I found at http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/98973/jewish/The-Candle.htm.
Stop and think for a moment about how many candles we use in the Jewish year, the Jewish life cycle. Every Shabbat, the woman of the house lights candles, welcoming Shabbat into the home. At the end of Shabbat, we part from the Shabbat using a Havdallah candle. On the anniversary of a loved one’s death we light a special Yahrzeit candle which stays alight for twenty-four hours. We mustn’t forget the Chanukah candles that we light in the dark of the winter, commemorating the victory of light over dark in many senses.
I think that the parallels highlighted by Gutman Locks in his article elevate the lighting of these various candles to a new level. I would therefore like to present them concisely and hope that they succeed in touching you in the way they touched me, making candle-lighting a completely new experience.
- The flame is hottest at it’s highest point. So too, man’s higher aspect is his soul.
- The flame always reaches for the heavens, pointing upwards. So too, the soul reaches for heaven, desiring to return to it’s true identity.
- In the same way that a wick that has been previously lighten is easier to relight, so too a soul that has wandered far yet once knew is easier to bring back than a soul that has never had that awareness.
- One can use a single candle to light thousands of candles and instead of losing it’s original light it actually increases in light, surrounded by other lights. So too, one soul can ignite thousands of other souls and instead of diminishing it’s light, it causes it’s soul to shine even brighter as it played a role in spreading light.
- It doesn’t matter what color or shape the candle is; the flame is always the same color. It also doesn’t matter what color or shape the body is- the soul is unaffected.
- A candle has many functions- for example lubricating and sealing. However, it’s main purpose it give light. A body also has many functions, but it’s main function is to contain the soul in order to bring light to the world.
- The candle has a form whilst the flame is formless. The body too has a form while the soul has no form.
- The flame consumes the wax or oil yet is not used up itself. The soul, unlike the body is not consumed by life.