by Neria Cohen
“Ner Hashem nishmas adam” –“ The soul of man is the candle of G-d.”
At the genesis of mankind, G-d breathed life into us, blowing from His innermost being into ours. With that breath – that divinely human life force – we are not meant to blow out candles, we are not meant to blow out souls, but to bless them.
It was the first birthday party that my not yet two-year-old niece, Galya, had ever attended. All the children gathered round the table and watched in excitement and awe as the candles on the birthday cake were lit.
“One, Two, Three,” and everyone puffed out their cheeks ready to blow while Galya encircled the flames three times with her arms and covered her eyes to bless the candles as she does every Friday night. Galya looked up amazed and confused to find the others puffing and blowing as the flames danced and slanted trying in vain to cleave to the wick.
“NO BLOWING,” says Galya’s mother whenever she sneaks little blows at her Shabbos candles. Even though everyone else cheered at the blowing out of the candles, when Galya looked over at her mother smiling and beaming with pride, she knew that her not blowing, that her blessing, was a perfect moment for all time.
“The soul of man is the candle of G-d.” Placed down here in this less than lit up world, our soul is meant to shine outward – out of our eyes, mouth and ears – a Temple with windows, not to let light in but to allow it to shine out. With your arms, your emotions, encircle the flame three times blessing the world, your family and yourself. Draw it in and let it shine out. Not just inspiration, but light.