This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 5:30 PM
 Shabbat Ends: 6:26 PM

Torah Message:

A Drop in the Ocean?

“…to kindle the lamp continually” (27:20)

We never know how a kind word can change a life. Often we think that a little drop of encouragement is no more than that — a drop in the ocean. How wrong! Sometimes the smallest smile can be a lifesaver to someone who may be sinking invisibly before our eyes.

The Midrash Tanchuma tells of Rabbi Chanina, the deputy Kohen Gadol (High Priest), speaking of his tenure in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple):

“I served in the Beit Hamikdash, and miraculous things happened with the Menorah. From the time we lit the Menorah on Rosh Hashana, until the following Rosh Hashana, it never went out.”

The Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai, once asked Rabbi Chaim Brisker about this Midrash: “The Torah mandates ‘…the Children of Israel shall take for you pure, pressed oil for illumination, to kindle the lamp continually.’ There is a mitzvah here to light the Menorah every day. If so, how could Rabbi Chanina report that the Menorah was never lit from one year to the next?”

Rabbi Chaim answered that the Rambam writes that someone who puts oil into an already-lit oil lamp on Shabbat is breaking the prohibition of kindling fire on Shabbat. If so, similarly, in the Beit Hamikdash — every day when they put a little drop of oil into the Menorah, it was considered as though they lit it.

Sometimes, just pouring a little of the oil of encouragement into someone’s life is enough to light up their entire world.

  • Sources: Based on Peninim Yekarim in Iturei Torah