IT'S THE CANDLE, NOT THE PLACE
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
I recently returned from a four week trip overseas where we celebrated various Simchas and enjoyed family time in different places. The trip included celebrating Chanukah in three different cities. We began the festival in New Jersey, spent two nights in Miami and lit the last candle in Los Angeles just before we boarded the plane to come home. As I kindled the last flame, enjoying the beauty of a fully lit Menorah, the following thought occurred to me:
Throughout the week, no matter where we were, it was the same Chanukah. The weather, the people and the time zone were all different in each place but the Chanukah candles were identical. All over the world, young and old, from warm Australia to freezing Chicago, everyone was performing the same Mitzvah.
Kindling the Menorah symbolises the ability to generate light and warmth around us. It reminds us that we can and should always infuse our surroundings with inspiration, motivation and positive energy. But the ability to do this is not dictated by what is outside of us in the environment. In any circumstance, easy or difficult, in every place, helpful or challenging and in every experience, positive or negative we can always make that light shine brightly. But is does depend on one thing - having a match and a candle. The candle is our soul within us and the match is the realisation that we have the ability to ignite its flame and create a beacon of light.
If you want to influence and uplift that which is outside of you, you just need to tap into the strength that is within you.