Interreligious, Quotes

The Eternal Light of the Servant Candle …

One candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases as the candle gives its flame to another. You are such light.

Light is the power to dispel darkness. You have this power to move back the darkness in yourself and in others, to do so with the birth of light created when one mind illuminates another, when one heart touches another, when one [person] strengthens another. And its flame enlarges you as you pass it on.

Throughout history, children of darkness have tried to smother this passage of light from man to man. Throughout history, dictators large and small have tried to darken, diminish and separate men by force. But always in the end they fail. For always, somewhere in the world the light remains: ready to burn its brightest where it is dark; a light that began when God created the world: “… Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment …” (Psalm 104). And free peoples have remained free by resisting those who would extinguish in men the light of freedom, the light of love, the light of truth.

To do our daily part to increase this light, we must remember that a candle is a small thing, a man alone is a small thing, a nation is a small thing. Remembering this, we must recognize something much more than our indispensability to others. We must remember their indispensability to us. For how can we hope — either as either as individuals or nations –to reach our maximum until we help those around us reach theirs? To be strong, the strong must serve.

“These lights we now kindle …” These words accompany the lighting of the Chanukah candles in the home, and in the heart, to commemorate the eternal bridge of light which reaches from Creation itself to the radiant spirit of free men. In this spirit is celebrated the Festival of Chanukah — the Festival of light — wherein the candle that gives light to the others is called “the servant candle.” You, too, are strongest … when you serve

Moshe Davis & Victor Ratnor from “The Eternal Light of the Servant Candle.” (Chanukkah Message of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, The Canadian Jewish Review, December 23, 1955)

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