Back to Main Page

Look Deeper

By: Mrs Michal Porat-Zibman

The beginning of our Parsha this week mentions the Aish Tamid- the eternal flame that is meant to be constantly lit on the mizbe’ach. The Kohen has to kindle wood upon it every morning. The Rambam in his Sefer HaMitzvot says that this daily rekindling of the flame is a Mitzvah d'oraytah- a biblical obligation. (Mitzvat Aseh 29). 

The challenge of worship that has a similar routine to it, day in and day out, is something that every aspiring eved HaShem faces. Perhaps one of the ideas of the eternal flame is that even though, excluding the holidays, we have the same form of worship day in and day out, we are meant to find meaning and value in it, and to keep the 'flame of passion and commitment’ alive and well. If we don’t tend to that flame, if we don’t work at it and invest in it, it will fade. The image of the Kohen rekindling the flame every morning is meant to plant within us the image of searching for ways to enhance the seemingly mundane actions of our lives and try to find renewed meaning and value in them. The fire will always be lit, but it will be up to us to keep that flame strong and bright, as opposed to low and weak. Perhaps that’s the significance of this Mitzvah today- we no longer have the Kohen or the flame, but the concept of renewing the flame, or renewing our constant state of awareness still applies to each and every individual.

This is also a fitting message to this time of year. Purim is a potentially challenging holiday theologically in the sense that no outwardly miraculous event occurred, and one could look at the events as an unusual set of circumstance. Rabbi Normal Lamm in his article 'Neither Here Nor There' states: 

"The victory of the Jews over Haman and the frustration of his...plot was a surprising triumph and showed that God has not abandoned us; but there was no overt miracles either, no clear and indisputable proof that God was present and responsible for our victory… therefore, the Purim story was ‘neither here nor there.’ So the Jews were free, authentically free, to interpret the events of that historical episode as they wished."

Despite the fact that no outwardly miracles existed, the Jews made the decision to believe in the hand of G-d as the guiding force in the story, and that is how we see and celebrate the Purim story till today. We have an opportunity every day to see the events in our lives as circumstantial, the hand of nature, or even events that take place at random. The Aish Tamid demands of us to look deeper, to seek into and to try and add light into what could be seen as 'natural’. Do we see the hand of G-d in our daily lives? Do we see that fire lit? Or do we just sort of take each day as it comes, without seeing the Godliness within it and within the opportunities that we are presented with.

Likewise the Jews in the time of the Megillah; we will be celebrating the holiday that the Jewish people chose to recognize the hand of Hashem, and not the hand of circumstance. May it inspire us to look at the seemingly ordinary events of our lives, and to transform them to tremendous opportunities. 

May we be blessed to be like Mordechai, Esther, and the Jews of that generation, who not only saw the daily events as orchestrated by Hashem, but that their salvation came from Him as well.

Purim Same’ach and Shabbat Shalom













Back to top