"Pure olive oil, crushed for giving light…"—Exodus 27:20.

This week's Torah reading begins with a commandment that the people make pure olive oil for kindling in the candelabrum in the Tabernacle. The process for obtaining the oil describes the olives as being "crushed for giving light." Although this phrase makes sense in its context, the two words – "crushed" and "light" – have very different, seemingly opposite connotation when taken on their own. "Crushed" conveys damage and ruin while "light" indicates vibrancy and warmth. Yet we know that only when an olive is trodden will it become fuel for illumination.

Like the olive, it is very often an experience of personal deflation that extracts this capacity from deep within usWe, like the olive, have been instilled with the ability to bring light to our surroundings. Like the olive, it is very often an experience of personal deflation that extracts this capacity from deep within us. The same is true when dealing with others. Sometimes it is necessary to tell our friends unsettling truths that they may not be eager to hear. But we must always be pure in our intentions. When administering a dose of reality, our words should never be meant to cause despair. Our only intent should be that the "crushing" will lead only to "light."

In the Twelfth Step, we are enjoined to "carry the message." When speaking to a new prospect, we are advised to speak about ourselves—and how we were forced into an admission of defeat. It is hoped that the listener will relate to our story and see that – without help – his own fate is inevitably just as bleak.

However, when sharing the hopelessness of our condition, our goal should never be to depress or intimidate our prospect. To the contrary, our true message is the testimony of how G‑d ultimately transformed our own chaotic existence into a more meaningful life than we ever had dreamed. As stated in the well-known preamble, our purpose is to share our "experience, strength and hope." So even when communicating the graveness of our illness to those who still suffer, our intention is not to "scare them straight," but to pass on the solution that we have found.