about us     |     subscribe     |     contact us     |     submit article     |     donate     |     speaking tour     |     store     |     ePaper
    Events    Issues    Tradition    E-Paper
 
2022 more..

2021 more..

2020 more..

2019 more..

2018 more..

2017 more..

2016 more..

2015 more..

2014 more..

2013 more..

2012 more..

2011 more..

2010 more..

2009

Are You a Leader?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Titanic Victory and a Small Cruse of Oil
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Holy Narcissism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Jacob's Three-Step Program toward Serenity
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Battle of the Stones
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Sandy Path to Inspiration
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The First 12-Step Program in History
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Angels and Mustard
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Spiritual Farming
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

PR Addicts
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Aesthetics Vs. Ethics
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Cantor, the Lion & the Fox
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Do you Spend your Time on the Important, or Only on the Urgent?
Jonathan Sacks

 

Who Has the Right to Re-Package Judaism?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Legacy of Woodstock
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Why Children Rebel
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Jacob’s Last Lecture: Lost Souls
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Become a “Kosher” Human Being
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Obama and the Future of Israel
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Neil Armstrong’s Missing “A”

 

Intimacy in Flames
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Two Roads Diverged In the Wood of Jewish History
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

An Ode To Diversity
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

DO WE NEED A REBBE?
Simon Jacobson

 

Revisiting Zionism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with the Recession
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

You Were Created to Be Silent
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Angel in the Marble
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Modern Jew in Wilderness

 

The Kabbalah of Foreclosure
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When God Becomes An Excuse for Fear
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Skoopy
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

History of the Haggadah - Chronology of the Haggadah - Timeline of the Haggadah

 

Challenging Your Animal
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Id, the Yid and the Super-Ego
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal With Addiction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

2008 more..

2007 more..

2006 more..

2005 more..

 

Click here for a full index

email this article       print this article
 
Lig Reading
Listening to the Flames
By Mendel Jacobson
 

I watch the flames as they dance and burn. I lean ever closer, trying to hear the story they tell. I look at the colors moving in rhythm; the red waltzes with the blue, the white tangos with the yellow. The glittering lights reflect off my transfixed eyes and as I stare into their dazzling faces I can feel myself being pulled into their warm embrace. It’s as if I no longer watch the flames but they watch me; it’s as if I no longer listen to their story but they listen to mine – and, as the space between the flames and myself begins to blur, I am transported to a place far away, far away within me: I have become part of the story…

…Winds howl in the frostbitten night. The slivery moon, waning with yet another month, looks like an icicle in the blackness above. Through my visible breath I see the tail of a shooting star frozen in mid-flight.

I stand there shivering, rubbing my numb hands together in an attempt at creating some semblance of feeling. I am bundled in many layers, covered in many coats, but no material can thaw this bone-chill, no fur can melt this iced heart.

All the homes, once places of light and warmth, have been destroyed: rubble and debris line the cobblestone streets. I can feel its murky stale breath on the back of my neck; an ominous gray cloud brushing against my consciousness. My trembling lips, bruise-purple from the cold, try to speak words, but all that comes out is a steely whimper.

I look to the holy Temple, for the luminance that once radiated the entire world, for the warmth that once blanketed the entire earth; but all I see is a hard darkness: I see people worshiping a thousand idols, their G-d long forgotten; I see bodies sculpted by Achilles, souls long ignored; I see minds shaped by Aristotle, hearts long resigned.

I crawl on all fours, sifting through the rubble, looking for a drop of the purity that once was. I look for hours, for days, but all I find is hopelessness. All has been defiled; all has been soiled. The darkness is too deep; the depths too dark. It seems once we’ve become guilty we can never retrieve our innocence. It seems once we are lost we can never again be found.

And then, as my numb fingers begin to fall limp, as my frozen eyelashes begin to close, as my trembling lips begin to lie down, I see it. Beneath the countless layers of filth, under the heaping piles of stone-cold idols, underneath the filmy mounds of soot and dust, I can see hope. With the last of my energy, my hand reaches for that little spark buried way down below. And, as my tingling fingers caress that last drop of purity, that single jug of oil stamped with the seal of the High Priest, I know that darkness doesn’t stand a chance…

… I blink and the flames come back into focus. And, as the flames continue to speak, I realize the story still dances on. The search for light in darkness, the search for truth in falseness, the search for purity in defilation, the search for warmth in coldness, happens every day.

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights: no matter how dark things may seem, no matter how bleak a situation may be, there is always that drop of oil that can never be contaminated, that drop of oil that always floats to the top.

I am watching the candles; the candles are watching me. I listen to their story; they listen to mine. Their warmth is my warmth; their light is my light; their story is my story – it is the story of light.

~~~

Email the author at mendel@algemeiner.com

Or check out his blog jakeyology.blogspot.com

Posted on December 21, 2006
email this article       print this article
Copyright 2005 by algemeiner.com. All rights reserved on text and illustrations