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A warm glow must accompany our connection to the Divine.

Eternal Flame of Divine Service

Eternal Flame of Divine Service

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Eternal Flame of Divine Service
A warm glow must accompany our connection to the Divine.

The Talmud tells us that our daily liturgy was established corresponding to the daily Temple offerings. One who reads the sections in the prayerbook about the offerings is given credit as though he brought the offerings himself. Contained in these selected verses and parts of the Mishnah is a verse from our weekly Torah reading, "The continuous flame on the altar should not go out" (Lev. 6:6).

This supernal flame would only descend when the Temple flame was properly lit….

What was the process? The priests in the Temple would bring a small flame to the Altar, which in turn would draw down an enormous divine flame from Heaven, and consume the offering. This supernal flame would only descend when the Temple flame was properly lit. While the supernal flame was divine and therefore boundless, the Temple flame was brought by human beings who are limited in action, and thus the fruits of their labor are also limited. Interestingly enough, though, we see that it is specifically the "limited" human efforts, that are the preparation to allow the supernal flame to descend! The only condition is that our flame be properly lit. The lesson from this is that when we do what is required of us, the Almighty adds His portion - supernal, unlimited strengths - until a person's efforts become a "constant and eternal flame".

Every Jew is like a miniature Temple….

Furthermore, every Jew is like a miniature Temple. What is our specific connection to this flame? A flame represents enthusiasm and warmth. When we bring this fervor to our observance of the commandments, this is like the priest lighting the flame in the Temple. This flame in turn initiates the descent of the divine flame.

What does this mean practically? The practice of Judaism can be divided into three categories: Torah, Prayer and Acts of Kindness. Studying Torah should not just be an isolated event with no connection to our lives; it should permeate and enliven us. Similarly, prayer is not supposed to be something done out of habit; rather, each word is supposed to be talking to G‑d. Similarly, every act of kindness should be done with enthusiasm, fulfilling the divine command in the best possible way, not just to unload an obligation. When we fulfill the Torah and its commandments with enthusiasm, then the "flame" that is being brought by the "priest" in our own personal Temple is complete. It is then that we merit the divine, supernal flame descending upon us from Above. Through this supernal flame that a person merits to see unlimited divine blessing in all of his efforts.

Shabbat Shalom and a Kosher and Happy Pesach, Shaul


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Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter is a co-founder, executive director and featured teacher of Ascent-of-Safed.
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