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Pilot Light

Pilot Light


Mordechai was sitting in the cockpit, looking over the instrument panel. It wasn’t easy to be a commercial pilot and a religious Jew at the same time, but Mordechai somehow managed. He was familiar with at least one rabbi in each city on his route, and tried his best to help them out, bringing kosher supplies and even Torah scrolls to isolated congregations. Tonight he was looking forward to seeing Rabbi Engel in Adelaide, Australia, who had invited him to a Chanukah event that fortunately fit right into his flight schedule.

“Hi, Mordechai, looks like I’m co-piloting with you on this flight.” Lou sat down next to Mordechai.

You know about Chanukah, Lou?

“Hi, Lou. Glad to have you here. We’re supposed to come in to Adelaide just about sunset time, which I’m really happy about. You know about Chanukah, Lou? I’ve got my Chanukah candles in my flight bag, and by the time I land and settle into the overnight accommodation, it will be time to light the menorah.” Mordechai paused and added, “You can join me if you’d like.”

“I don’t usually celebrate any Jewish holidays, but my daughter has started exploring Judaism. She’ll probably light the Chanukah lights tonight. So, let me ask you: what is the purpose of lighting those candles, anyhow?”

“We light the menorah to remember a miracle that happened over two thousand years ago . . .”

“So how is that relevant today?”

“I suppose the message is that G‑d is watching over us. Even when it’s getting dark, He is there for us, ready to help. And what we have to do is to kindle a small light in that darkness, a light of Torah, a light of mitzvahs, and G‑d will make that light grow way beyond our expectations.”

They flew in silent contemplation for a while. As they approached Adelaide, they banked the aircraft to circle. The 180-degree view from the cockpit revealed a magnificent skyline, as light from the setting sun danced elegantly between the buildings, and the shadows sidestepped closer. The plane came around to the western side of the city, when an unexpected sight caught Mordechai’s eye.

Hey! Take a look at that!

“Hey! Take a look at that! I don’t know how the rabbi managed this one! Do you see that giant menorah!”

Lou looked up. On the facade of one of the tallest buildings in Adelaide, there were eight branches of light with a tall shamash in the middle.

“Wow, that’s magnificent!”

The airplane continued past, as the sun slowly made its own circuit toward the western horizon. By the time the aircraft had come around in view of the tall building again, the menorah had disappeared.

It had been a mirage, a trick of light from the setting sun . . . or, perhaps, a reminder from Above, that even when it’s getting dark, He is there for us.

All we need to do is to light that small flame.

Mina Gordon grew up in Chicago and lives in Australia with her husband and children. She has been teaching Torah classes to young adults and women for over thirty years.
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Menucha Chana Levin Jerusalem December 24, 2014

Lovely story Lovely, inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. Reply

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