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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Be That Light

This poem is to mark Chag Haurim, the holiday of Chanukah which will begin on Thursday evening at sundown.

I began this week considering the many topics in this eventful parsha. The story of Joseph is so rich. As I thought about Parshat Vayeishev I kept returning to the man in the field; that person whom Joseph happens upon in the field and who directs Joseph to meet his brothers, meet his fate and begin the national narrative of the Jewish people. That man, known as an angel of God, remains a character in Torah whom I return to over and over again. How many people do we meet in our lives who are that person in field?

For this week, one of my first drafts looks like this:

Be that angel

Be the one who meets the lost,

the alone and shows him the way.

Be that angel who changes that small slice of history.

Be that one.

Be that angel.

Well before dawn this morning, I changed the idea of the angel to the light that we have within us; that light which has the power to change others, to change a tiny slice of history.

So, to mark Parshat Vayeishev and the upcoming holiday of Chanukah, I have this small offering to make. Nothing extraordinary, just a hope for light. Perhaps we are all those angels who carry light within us?

Our job is to pass the light along.

Spread light. Be an angel.



Be That Light

There is a space in our hearts

where a soft light glows.

Its flame glows even when darkness surrounds us,

even when anger sweeps us like a hurricane.

Even then.

Even now.

There is light in our hearts.

even when the despair threatens to overtake us.

There is a glimmer,

despite loss,

despite war and bitter disappointments that cause us to spiral


There is light


There must be.

In the cold,

when winter of the world feels that it will last forever

and the cold north winds of the world howl,

hold onto that inner light that softly glows in you.

Do not fear.

Coax the light out from the corners of your heart.

Even if it wavers,

stoke it,

fuel it until it roars;

share from the flame which does not rest

and light the way for someone whose light burns dim.

Shepherd that light however you know how;

to your neighbors, to the lost,

to those who seek light.

Look and you will find them.

Spread your light with the great strength that you possess,

indeed, for light is power and power can be light.

Be generous.

May your lite shine bright.

"Sometimes a flame can be utterly extinguished. Sometimes a flame can shrink and waver,

but sometimes a flame refuses to go out. It flares up from the faintest ember to illuminate the darkness,to burn in spite of overwhelming odds."

Karen Hesse, The StoneLamp: Eight Stories of Hanukkah Through History

נֵ֣ר יְ֭הֹוָה נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם חֹ֝פֵ֗ש כל־חַדְרֵי־בָֽטֶן׃

A candle of God is the soul of man.

Proverbs 20:27


Other posts from Words Have Wings about Parshat Vayeishev...I do have a favorite,which is my father's story.

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