Properties of Light and Chanukah

Light travels from its source until it hits something.  Depending on what it hits, the light will either be absorbed or bounce off.  To prove this, take a flashlight outside at night and point it towards the sky.  If you look closely, you will see the beam of light travels up and out of the atmosphere until it hits a star.  The star reflects the light back to you.  On a cloudy night, the light is absorbed by the clouds.  However, some of the light reflects off of the clouds but it is much less.  We know that light travels at a speed of 299 792 458 m / s.  This means that the light leaves its source and travels away from it.  The light that left the source continues to travel through space even if the source is removed.  

We recently finished the holiday of Chanukah.  For eight days we lit candles, each night, one more.  Over the course of the festival, we light a total of 44 candles.  Each candle gives off a specific amount of light. Knowing what we do about light, we can see that light given off by each candle can continue to move even after the candle goes out; until it is absorbed by something.

Where does the light go?  It is ultimately absorbed by something. One of the characteristics of the human body is that it can absorb light.  It is also true that some of that light bounces off of us. So what can we say about this?  We can absorb the light and bring it with us throughout our daily lives.  In this way, even if we travel into the darkness of this world, we carry the light with us. As we bring the light with us, others are then able to see.

In the book of Isaiah, HaShem calls upon us to be the light to the nations. Others can see because of the light we carry to them.  As we learned earlier, some of that light is absorbed and some bounces off.  There are those who don’t see the light and may never absorb it.  Even so, we are to bring it to them so that they can be affected by it.  We know that light affects things differently. Some things will actually fade when exposed to light.  So, as we bring the light into the world, some of the darkness that is upon those whom we meet, will begin to fade.  Just as the festival of Chanukah requires 44 separate lights, some people require the light from many different people in order to make the change in their lives and fade away the darkness in which they live.

Don’t be discouraged if the light you carry doesn’t make the changes in others which you expect.  We know that a small amount of light can displace a great amount of darkness.  One candle in a completely dark room can illuminate the entire room.  While this is a fact, it is also true that many candles will illuminate the room to a greater extent.  We are to use the light which HaShem illuminates upon us to give off our own personal maximum amount of light.  As the master, He knows how much light is needed and can send more people to those who are living in complete darkness.  It is not the candles job to know how much light it gives.  It is only its job to give off as much light as it can.

The miracle of Chanukah was that the oil was sufficient to last until more oil could be produced.  The lamps did not go out. Likewise, our light is also sufficient and will not go out.  There are millions of us in this world providing light to this world.  The other miracle of Chanukah is that we, like the light, will not be extinguished.

Copyright 2017 by:

William Bouker


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