The Eighth Flame: Light a Fire

IMG_00000872A Magic Moment in a NYC Taxi

We are in the midst of season of light. What is the take away from the glow? Today is the final day of Chanukah.

As a child, I learned from my parents, it is not only our responsibility to keep the flame alive but spread it around. If we do, the fire will always burn bright.

This life affirming message struck a chord last week at the funeral of Richie Farber, of blessed memory and for me in deeply personal way in a New York City cab on a 10 minute ride from the upper east side to Grand Central Station.

One of Richie’s sons reflected about his father, “He was a people person and when he met someone he always wanted to make them feel amazing.”

Like most everyone of us, we are inspired by such a description but do we live by this motto? If we did, the world would be much different.

We encounter dozens of people a day but do we make them feel amazing?

In my mind, we keep the flame of Chanukah alive when we ignite another person and transform a fleeting moment into an eternal one.

For me, this moment occurred on Park Avenue at 30 mph in a New York City yellow cab a few days ago.

As I entered the car on Sunday night, I was confronted with a choice. Do I engage or disengage? Do I keep the flame or share it?

I decided to light a fire.

I started a conversation with the cabbie and he opened up. He shared with me that people think all cab drivers are the same when in fact they are not. Some drive to make ends meet, some to pay for college and others to earn extra money in retirement. He expressed his gratitude for Thanksgiving, a holiday for people of all faiths and also shared with me how appreciative he is for a NYC High School diploma.

When I was about to leave the car, he offered me the following wish: “God bless you.” I responded, “God bless you.”

I will likely never see this person again but I truly felt that our two lights merged in the car and we generated some more light for the world.

God bless each of you with a holiday of Chanukah that inspires you to keep lighting the lights every day and every night. With God’s help, we will all make the world an even brighter place.

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