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turn the light on

Wednesday, 1 February, 2017 - 10:09 pm

A wealthy man, uncertain as to which of his sons should be entrusted with the management of his business, devised a test. He took his three sons to a room which was completely empty and said to each of them: "Fill this room as best as you are able".

The first son got to work immediately. He called in bulldozers, earthmoving equipment, workers with shovels and wheelbarrows and they got mightily busy. By the end of the day the room was filled, floor to ceiling, wall to wall, with earth.

The room was cleared and the second son was given his chance. He was more of an accountant type, so he had no shortage of paper; boxes, files, archives and records that had been standing and accumulating dust for years and years suddenly found a new purpose. It did not take long for the room to be filled from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, with paper.

Once again the room was cleared and the third son was given his turn. He seemed very relaxed and did not appear to be gathering or collecting anything at all with which to fill the room. He waited until nightfall and then invited his father and family to join him in front of the room. Slowly, he opened the door. The room was absolutely pitch black, engulfed in darkness. He took something out of his pocket. It was a candle. He lit the candle, and suddenly the room was filled with light.

He got the job. 

In Egypt, G-d performed ten plagues to show that He is in charge! The 9th plague was the plague of darkness. For several days all of Egypt was enveloped in a thick and impenetrable veil of darkness, as we see in the words of the Torah: "They did not see each other, and no one rose from his place for three days, but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings". 

Many times we see people around us enveloped in darkness; negativity, anger, partisan politics, etc. When that happens, no one rises from their place. The Jewish way is that when there is darkness all around we act like the third son, there is light in our homes. This means that our Jewish values, our Torah study and our mitzvah observance do not only take place in the dark world around us, outside the home, yet it occurs also in the home, bringing light to the home.

In this way, we can teach our personal Pharaoh that G-d is in charge and runs the world. That G-d can and will take us out of our personal and global exiles.

Have a good Shabbos - there will not be services at Chabad this week.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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