Great waters cannot quench the flame of love; neither can the floods drown it. – King Solomon, Song of Songs 8:7
On the altar of the sacrifices of the Tabernacle, there was a flame that was never extinguished. We continue that tradition with what is called the “Ner Tamid”, the eternal candle (or light bulb) that is always lit in the synagogue.
The Sfat Emet in 5640 (1880) explains that the altar is similar to the human heart and that each one of us must have an internal flame that is constantly burning. Burning with a passion and desire to do what’s right in this world, with a love of God. (The words “lev” (heart), “lahav” (flame) and “hitlahavut” (passion) all have the same Hebrew root.)
When a person accepts upon himself such a lifelong commitment to good, then something magical happens. A transformation occurs. That internal fire burns brightly and is never extinguished. And though challenges, distractions and obstacles stand in his way, they will burn in the flames of his passion. They will even feed the fire of his great desire. He will be an inextinguishable flame.
May we find our passion for good and see our flame burn forever.
To Rita Vinocur. An inextinguishable flame of passion in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.