As I kindled the eighth light of the menorah on the last night of Hanukkah, many thoughts came to mind. The beautiful display of brightness with all branches of the menorah lit evoked a feeling of warmth, optimism and hope. Being surrounded by family and friends added a sense of belonging, companionship and love.
Gazing at the menorah, it was as if the flickering flames were each communicating a message. Together the flames acted as if they were in a symphony where each one spoke and sang something of importance.
A key message which I find inspiring is how we can all be a human menorah. We all have the ability to give off light and inspire others that they too shall shine.
Indeed, Kabbalistically speaking the seven branches on the menorah in the temple which stood in Jerusalem eluded too the seven emotional soul powers. Each one of the seven emotions can be refined in a way that they are beautiful, healthy and inspirational thus shining bright like a human menorah.
As we conclude the Festival of Lights, I believe there are a few key points that can enable us to shine like a human menorah not only on Hanukkah but every day of the year.
1) Firstly, never under estimate your ability to shine! Often we maximize our deficiencies and minimize our capabilities. You'll be surprised how much a positive attitude or a good word to someone else can achieve. A little bit of light dispels much darkness. Don't wait for the time you think you're ready to shine as that time may never come. Start seeing yourself as a menorah and from now on continue to glow!
2) Seek out that which unites people not what divides people. While there are no two faces or minds alike, there is far more that we have in common. Shelter, food, peace, love and financial stability are things most people want for themselves and their families. If that's the case, there is plenty that we have in common. When interacting with people from diverse back grounds, seek out the common human interest which unites us all!
3) In addition to focusing on people's common interest, see another person in the image of the divine in which he or she was created. We are taught that G-d created the human being in His image. While there are many deep Kabbalistic meanings to this, the immediate take away is powerful, see someone else as he or she is in their original source which is pure, unique, good and beautiful.
4) A positive and optimistic attitude has the ability to brighten even the gloomiest moments. Furthermore, in life one can focus on the good things or always try to find the bad. A general positive attitude, seeking out and celebrating the positive things in life is a key step to becoming a human menorah.
5) Another step to exuding light is doing a mitzvah. When one goes out of his or her comfort zone to help someone else, one reaches beyond selfishness and shines. In addition, doing acts of holiness connect us to the divine and help us shine bright.
The above tips are just brief thoughts that came to mind about being a human menorah on Hanukkah and beyond. If everyone chooses to give off even a little light, it will take no time for the world to light up with goodness, kindness and unity.