Rabbi Yossel Kranz
Chabad of Virginia
Tonight we light candle number four. Chassidic thought expounds on the idea, that every candle has four elements.
1. The vessel in which it is contained.
2. The oil or wax that it burns.
3. The wick that carries the fuel to the flame.
4. The flame itself.
The Chanukah lights encourage us to illuminate our world by becoming living menorahs. If we carefully examine the lights, each one tells us how.
Even an unlit candle reminds us that every human being is a vessel for G-dliness and goodness. Chanukah is therefore a good time to ask ourselves, how strong is my vessel? Are there cracks in my life leaking precious fuel that need to be repaired?
The type of fuel, and amount, will determine how bright the candle burns, and for how long. Ask yourself: What is the source of my energy and inspiration? Is it the best fuel for my soul? Do I need a fill up?
Have you ever found yourself with the best of intentions and even the wherewithal to do something good, but for some reason you just don’t? That’s because of a bad wick.
Having a vessel, filling it with oil and even striking the match, doesn’t ensure light. There has to be something that brings together the intention with the act. If there’s a disconnect, ask yourself, what do I need to help me go from good thoughts to good deeds? Who, or what, can be my wick?
Finally, if the vessel is whole, the fuel refined, and the wick is doing its job, the flame should be perfect. But is it?
Our flame needs constant monitoring. Am I burning too hot? Is my Judaism inspiring to those around me? Am I burning bridges instead of making new ones?
Conversely, am I perhaps burning too low? Does anybody see my light? Is it warming enough to be nurturing?
“Let there be light!" were the very first words G-d spoke when creating the world. To be a “light unto the nations” is our mission. The Chanukah candles teach us how.