Your Candle Is Up Front


Click to read more about Rabbi Kravitz.

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz –

The light of a candle is serviceable only when it precedes one on the way, useless when it trails behind. – Bahya ben Asher

How often we search for something to brighten our way; to make living more comfortable; to assist us in reaching our goals. And where do we find it?

For some, the help is from a book, or a Bible or a poem. Others need the support of a friendly person – a family member, spouse or colleague.

There is help for each issue that we bring up. Every concern that faces us has a resolution. But it’s always through the probing and the searching that we confront the wall that is in front of us. Some will try to climb over it, others will attempt to blast through and the last option is, of course, to go around.

Every individual operates differently. Each of us will respond in the moment, in a unique and distinctive manner. It all depends on who we are and how strongly we desire to achieve our goal.

As Bahya ben Asher – a Middle Ages scholar – suggests, we need to carry our candle in front of ourselves. Its light will illuminate our path. The glow of the candle will assist in our progress, to avoid stumbling.

But we need to carry the candle in front, not behind us. We cannot achieve goals with warped shadows of used light coming from behind. We must be determined to press forward, following the light, leaving our past in the past, ever seeking the new and helpful.

With a few simple words Ben Asher directs progress. He teaches that moving forward and following the brightness will uplift the fallen and elevate the dispirited.

How universal is that symbol – the candle? Brighten the world, friends.

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