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Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar 5775

Ein Ayah: Being Accustomed to Light

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:28)

Gemara: One who is used to candles will have sons who are talmidei chachamim.

 

Ein Ayah: One should not make the mistake of diminishing the significance of the similarity between certain physical phenomena relating to man and lofty spiritual matters. For the same G-d Who created our spirit provided it with all its powers and characteristics. Man’s power of imagination and of art have strong tendencies based on Hashem’s wisdom and goodness.

In the eyes of our imagination and our artistic sense, there is a connection between the light of a candle lighting up the physical darkness and the light of the Torah illuminating the darkness of the spirit. The relationship between these two phenomena allows one to impact on the other in a positive manner in a way that leads man to the path of life in which he guards the path of Hashem.

When a person is accustomed to a nice amount of candle light, he develops the characteristic of appreciating how good light is and how difficult it is to sit in darkness. If he is not used to light, then he will not be as aware of light’s importance, and he will think that light is no more than an advantage, not a necessity for man to be complete.

From a physical perspective, the eye of one who is accustomed to a lot of light will not feel the extra clarity of sight with extra light, for only at the time that he is first exposed to the light do the light rays enter his eyes and stimulate his retina. After that point, the pupils are constricted, and the amount of light rays that are let in are adjusted to that which is appropriate. Despite this, one who is used to an abundance of light will still desire the extra light even though he will not feel how it is palpably advantageous. Rather, it is a characteristic of man to love light once he has become accustomed to it. Habit will set the spirit’s characteristic on its natural standing.

The above physical phenomenon regarding physical light can teach us by example about the impact of the light of Torah for one who is accustomed to it and benefits from its glow. He comes to feel how critical the Torah’s light is and how bad and difficult darkness is. The more he is accustomed to the light of Torah, the greater his love for it. He will realize that this special light creates an intrinsically positive characteristic in man in the spiritual realm, just as physical light does in the physical world.

One should prepare himself to use the idea of being accustomed and appreciating physical light to acquire a greater inclination towards all forms of light, including the spiritual light of Torah, which is related at its root to true internal desires. Then, even if by chance circumstances, he is distanced from the light of the Torah, he will have sons who are talmidei chachamim. This depends on the realization that the light of Torah is critical, to the extent that one who lacks it is to be compared to one who sits in darkness. Rather, one should become accustomed to light and realizes its great value.
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