"The soul of man is a lamp of G‑d" (Proverbs 20:27).

The flame knows no rest, for it lives in perpetual conflict between two opposite strivings. It cleaves to its wick, drinking thirstily of the oil that fuels its existence. At the same time, it surges upward, seeking to tear free of its material tether. It knows that such disengagement would spell the end of its existence as a manifest, illuminating flame; nevertheless, such is its nature.

This is the paradox of the flames life: its attachment to wick and fuel in the lamp sustains both its continued existence and its incessant striving for oblivion.

"The soul of man is a lamp of G‑d"man, too, is torn between these two contrasting drives. On the one hand, he tends towards self and materiality, towards life and existence. At the same time, he yearns to reach beyond his material self, to transcend the trappings of physicality and ago. The tension created by these conflicting drives is the essence of the human life.

Freely adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.