The Power of Your Candle
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
A while ago a friend of mine, Reb Meir together with his wife Esther shared with me a personal story. With their permission I am sharing it with you, as well as what I believe is a simple but powerful lesson.
At the beginning of World War II Meir, his brother and father were caught on the Russian side and spent most of the war near Siberia in Northern Russia.
One time they were on a ship in the stormy waters of the Lena River near the Siberian Mountains. It was nighttime, pitch black and no lighthouse in sight.
Being a little frightened, someone asked the captain how he could navigate these waters with no light to show him where to go. He pointed to the top of a hill where there was a candle burning in a window. He explained that every night there is a Jew that sits in that house next to the burning candle. By watching the flame he knew where to steer the ship.
When the boat stopped at the foot of the mountain Meir and his father went to investigate the identity of the Jew with the candle. As they came close they discovered that it was the famous Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Itzikel, who was also caught there during those difficult years. Every night he would sit and study Torah late into the night by the light of a candle, oblivious to the fact that he was providing light so that so many people could travel safely.
Every story has a lesson. We never fully appreciate the full value and impact of the small things that we do. To make a real difference we don't need to have ambitious and grand plans. We just need to kindle our own little flame. We just need to ensure that our immediate surroundings are filled with warmth, good deeds and positive energy. The ripple effect and the impact on others will be automatic and significant. The flame we create will on its own give direction and inspiration to others.
Light your own candle and you will help others find their way.