In conjunction with your graduation, I hereby send my greetings and blessings to the graduating students and to all participants in this Torah celebration. As emphasized on many previous occasions, I hope that the graduation celebration will serve as a preparation and a beginning for a higher level of studying Torah and fulfilling mitzvot. For this is the true content of a Torah "graduation" in general and a yeshiva graduation in particular.

The sidra of this week, Behaalotecha, "when you will kindle the lights," begins with the precept that Moshe was commanded to teach Aharon the Kohain, namely, to kindle the lights of the Menorah (candelabrum) in the Mishkan (desert sanctuary) and in the Beit Hamikdash (Jerusalem sanctuary). It was not sufficient for Aharon merely to apply the flame to the wicks; it was an integral part of the mitzvah for him to continue holding the kindling flame to the new wick until it "caught" properly and the newly-kindled flame was flickering upwards on its own.[1]

Torah is eternal, immortal. All its teachings are eternal, not limited by time or place. It is therefore quite clear that, in a deeper sense, the command "to kindle the lights" is relevant to every Jew in all times and places. Chassidic philosophy explains that the soul, which is "literally part of G‑d above," is the G‑dly light or candle; and every Jew is, in a sense, a "Kohain," for G‑d called all Israel "a kingdom of priests."[2] It is the obligation and the merit of every one of us to kindle his own "light," (i.e. his own neshamah or soul) with the illumination of Torah and mitzvot (as King Solomon declares: "For a Mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light"[3]). It is also our responsibility to kindle the neshamah-light of every Jew we can possibly reach who for various reasons might still be "in the dark," whose soul might not yet be shining as a neshamah should.

I hope that as students of Lubavitch you will always remember that you must be "lights to shed light" — brightly burning lights who must also kindle and illuminate others. You have the additional obligation to disseminate the light of Torah and mitzvot with enthusiasm and liveliness as commanded by the precept, "Love your fellow as yourself."[4]

May the Al-mighty grant you great success in the above and may He bring you blessing and success in all your own affairs.

Free translation of a 1962 letter by the Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 13, pg. 191, reproduced from A Thought for the Week)


1. Numbers 8:2 & Rashi ibid
2. Exodus 19:6
3. Proverbs 13:9
4. Leviticus 19:19