Listen To The Flames


Men darf zich tzuheren vos di lichtelech dertzeilen” – we need to listen to what the Chanukah flames tell us – says the Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak.

How do we listen to flames?

Light is a visual, not an audible, experience. A pure flame does not give off a sound. So how do we listen to the Chanukah flames?

The answer lies in understanding the nature of the flames and in their message to us. Why do we light Chanukah candles in the first place? The historical/technical reason is to commemorate the miracle of discovering and lighting the oil of the Menorah in the time of the second Temple, after the Greco-Syrians defiled it. However, the question remains: What power do these flames contain that till this very day we continue to kindle them every year on Chanukah?

“The flame of G-d is the human soul.”

The light of the Menorah is the light of your soul, and the story of the flame is the story of your life. Look closely at a flame and you can see yourself in its flicker. The flame licking the air reflects your soul’s transcendent yearnings. The restless flame tells the story of our restless lives, as we fluctuate between tension and resolution. The light generated from the burning fuel mirrors the work we do in transforming matter into spirit (energy). The light and warmth of the flame is the way we should be illuminating and warming every person we meet.

To appreciate the Chanukah flames we need to not just look and see them; we need to listen to them – listen to the flames as they manifest in our souls, and its dignified journey on this earth.

The real you

Most of our time and energy is immersed and invested in our needs to survive and function in the material world. We have little time and strength for our souls. Comes Chanukah and compels us to stop. To slow down our outward drives that so consume us, and travel inward. Light a flame each night, and then listen to its story. Look deep into the flame and you will see… yourself. This restless, rising, illuminating, warming flame is YOU. The real you. Not the one that wears many different masks to suit different occasions. Not the “outer you” submerged in your material struggles. The flame is the real you – your soul waiting to be released.


Try it out. Gather family and friends, and for that matter, strangers as well. Gather in a Chanukah celebration or any get-together that lifts people from their immediate, materialistic concerns to a sublime environment. And watch those flames rise; witness the power and energy that rises when souls come alive.

The result:

Pure magic. Unbelievable energy. That is the power released when matter converts into energy.

Listen to the flames. Listen to your soul. Listen to your children. Listen to others.

Speak less. Listen more.


Happy Chanukah.

Live with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
Military Strategies: Lessons Learned for Chanukah
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 @8:30pm
Live Stream | Podcast

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