The Fourth Flame: The Twisted Flame

The Havdalah candle we light on Saturday night at the end of Shabbat is a twisted flame. Two wicks braided together. What is the message for Chanukah?

Fire symbolizes both life and death. A fire can be destructive or constructive. It can burn or it can build.

The debate between the house of Shamai and the House of Hillel regarding the progression of lighting the Chanukiah reflects the duality of fire. Do we begin with eight candles on the first night and dim the lights signifying fire’s ability to burn, or do we start with one flame and brighten the holiday each night symbolizing fire’s ability to build?

The twisted flame reminds us that it is not always easy in life to harness and elevate the holy. Light and Darkness are not always separated, and the same tools from G-d can either be profane or sanctified. We light the twisted flame on Saturday night to charge us with instilling our week with light.

At the beginning of time, the world was filled with darkness and G-d brought light. We too must bring light to the world. Spend a fewminutes writing down a new wayyou canadd light to the world this Chanukah and beyond.

May the lights of Havdalah and Chanukah bring blessing and peace to you and your families.

Shavua Tov and Happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Daniel Cohen

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