by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
A very fine Yeshiva student asked me, “What should I be thinking about when I light the Chanukah Candles?”
What is so amazing about his question is that so few people ask it. The vast majority of Jews who do mitzvahs do them only because they are commanded, and if they cover all of the physical requirements, they feel satisfied.
Of course we do the mitzvahs because we are commanded, that is understood. Where else could the idea have come from? But if that is your only intention, then you will satisfy only the Torah’s physical requirement, and be ignoring the Torah’s spiritual opportunity…, and your daily life will reflect this lack.
Again, of course we are lighting the candles because it is a mitzvah, but what is this particular mitzvah intended to bring into our lives?
Number one; when we light the candles we should be thankful. This is what Chanukah is all about. If Hashem had not miraculously intervened in the war between the Maccabees and the Greeks, there might not be a Jewish people in the world today. When Hashem preserved His people, He also preserved monotheism. What would this world have been if G-d had not intervened? Or more personally, what would you have been if the Greeks had destroyed the Jews? This is certainly a good reason to be thankful.
Next, look at the oil (or the candle) that is burning and trace the oil (or wax) as it moves towards the flames. The flame consumes the oil in order to keep burning. The wick survives because it is the oil that feeds the flame. The burning oil is converted into light as the fire reaches it.
Now try to look at the light. We cannot see the light itself, but only what it does. This is why light is often used as a Spiritual metaphor. See that although there are many candles, many wicks, and many flames, their light is one. See how the light fills the room (or the area). Then trace the light back to its source, the flames. This will help you to understand how the multiple matter that fills creation is also a single existence. See how the many are basically One.