Rabbi’s Corner

Rabbi’s corner: Lighting the world

Benzion Shemtov

I would like to share with you a thought on a mitzvah that recently took on a particularly dear meaning to me. As my daughter turns 3 years of age today, she begins to light her very own Shabbos candle, brightening the world each Friday evening.

Married women have been lighting Shabbos candles for centuries, bringing peace into the homes and lives of their family.  But, does this empowerment only start once a woman is married? Can a youngster not take a vital part in bringing harmony into our lives?

Fifty years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about how this dark and demoralized world can use additional light. He explained how just like our Matriarch Rivka began lighting candles at the tender age of 3, we should encourage girls starting from that early age to light a candle too. We should educate them in this area and demonstrate the need of added compassion and kindness.

We are taught that each member in society has their unique role and path to bettering this world. Often, when we find ourselves part of a collective project in the community, we become like one entity. Everyone working toward one goal can give us the feeling of being just a small part of a much bigger picture. However, when lighting the Shabbos candles, each candle represents a world of its own. When each of us lights a candle, we do not create a large torch where all the candles come together; rather we create multiple channels of light from which others can draw inspiration. Each candle is a new light, a new outlet for serenity and happiness. And this can be accomplished by all — young girls and women.

I bless my daughter that the purity of the light she brings into this world should bring an abundance of new Torah light to our community in Sierra Vista and ultimately to the whole of Southern Arizona. Please light up the world and together we can bring the ultimate “Light” — when the world will know of no darkness.