The Many Faces of Light

During this Chanukah holiday, Rabbi Levi Cunin shares his perspective on the meaning behind 'light.'

The word "light" is used in many ways. The most common use is to describe a light that shines. When you tell a joke in a tense moment you make "light" of the situation. Ideas are often understood with the help of "light." For example, it has happened more than I would like to admit that a piece of important information has been shared with me from a number of perspectives, sometimes over long periods of time, when suddenly as if a “light” has turned on and I finally get the message.

In Kabballah, light is used to describe the flow of energy. In our body/soul combo, as it were, when we speak our words project “light.” In fact this is why in Jewish prayer we are encouraged to speak the words of our prayers, since the very words that emanate from our mouths have the power to create "light." 

Over the past I have shared with you thoughts and teachings from the great Master the Baal Shemtov. While some are short and simple upon first glance, many of the Baal Shemtov’s teachings require deeper study to fully appreciate them. As we approach the final days of the Festival of Lights I share with you some words translated from one of the Baal Shemtov’s teachings:

“<Behold when it comes to connectivity, some say> “that connectivity is when one utters one word and draws out on that word in length. And because of being so connected, he does not want to separate himself from the word" [and therefore he lengthens each word].”

The connectivity that he spoke of relates to the Divine connection we uncover during our prayers, but he also opens us to appreciate the power that exists in our own words and the connections words make, especially when we are invested from our cores.  

As such, when we use our words mercifully, we identify with the source of all mercy. When we speak intelligently, we manifest from the source of all intelligence. When we speak lovingly, we become love. And when we express our life as the means to an end rather than the end in and of itself, we become a beacon of light for others. This is the power of uttering one word.

When we afford ourselves the time to contemplate the words of the Baal Shemtov, our words naturally become a vehicle for the brightest light that lives within.

Happy Chanukah, Shabbat Shalom!


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