Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let there be light -- Shabbat Beresheet

Today is Shabbat Beresheet, the Sabbath on which we begin the Torah-reading cycle anew, starting at Genesis.
After all our soul-searching and repenting of the past month, God has hopefully given us a clean slate to begin the new Jewish year.
Every year on this Hebrew date we read all over again how God created the world, and every year we are given a fresh chance to create our own worlds all over again.

"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."
Here is a story related by Yanki Tauber, content editor of

What Is A Chassid?LET THERE BE LIGHT (1:3)

In 1907, when Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch was staying at the health spa in Wirtzburg, Germany, a group of chassidim came to spend a Shabbos with the Rebbe. Among them was Reb Yosef Yuzik Horowitz, his son-in-law Reb Feivel Zalmanov, and Reb Elimelech Stoptzer.

The Rebbe prayed for many hours that Shabbos morning, as was his manner. Meanwhile, the chassidim made kiddush and consumed a respectable quantity of l'chayims.
Later, when the Rebbe had finished and they sat with him to the Shabbos meal, Reb Yosef Yuzik asked:
"Rebbe, what is a chassid?"
Replied the Rebbe: "A chassid is a lamplighter. The lamplighter walks the streets carrying a flame at the end of a stick. He knows that the flame is not his. And he goes from lamp to lamp to set them alight."

Asked Reb Yosef Yuzik: "What if the lamp is in a desert?"
"Then one must go and light it," said the Rebbe. "And when one lights a lamp in a desert, the desolation of the desert becomes visible. The barren wilderness will then be ashamed before the burning lamp."

Continued the chassid: "What if the lamp is at sea?"
"Then one must undress, dive into the sea, and go light the lamp."
"And this is a chassid?" Reb Yosef Yuzik asked.
For a long while the Rebbe thought. Then he said: "Yes, this is a chassid."

"But Rebbe, I do not see the lamps!"
Answered the Rebbe: "Because you are not a lamplighter."
"How does one become a lamplighter?"
"First, you must reject the evil within yourself.
Start with yourself, cleanse yourself, refine yourself, and you will see the lamp within your fellow. When a person is himself coarse, G-d forbid, he sees coarseness; when a person is himself refined, he sees the refinement in others."

Reb Yosef Yuzik then asked: "Is one to grab the other by the throat?"
Replied the Rebbe: "By the throat, no; by the lapels, yes."


richies said...

The fact that we have a creator to me is the most important fact. The story of creation in Genesis helps me make sense of the world I live in.

An Arkie's Musings

Dick said...

Beautiful story, appropriate picture.

Webradio said...

Thank You for this explain Dina !

Have a good day !

Sherry said...

Was just catching up on your blog. I am impressed with all the traditions, how rich a culture is with so many ceremonies and traditions.
Thanks for sharing.

ichandrae said...

beautiful Dina.

Thankyou for another beautiful flame from Jerusalem.

That was good advice to give someone to grab others by the lapel because you could really hurt someone if you grabbed them by the throat.
ha ha.

For me psychology is entwined with morality. Yes if you are cold and callous you will treat others that way because it is the ego's way of functioning.


Petrea said...

I like the story and the photo that goes with it.

Louis la Vache said...

What a meaningful post, Dina.