There1 is a well-known statement of the Rebbe [Rashab], the anniversary of whose passing. See the last footnote on p. 4 above. falls soon, that the role of his students was to become “lamps to diffuse light.”2

The words of tzaddikim are precise in all their details. This is especially so with regard to statements by the nesi’im of the Jewish people concerning their disciples and concerning those who are connected to them. Hence, the term “lamps to diffuse light” is a guide, in several vital respects, to those who are connected with the speaker. Let us therefore consider a few of the characteristics of a lamp:

The lamp itself is the source of the light — a luminary, albeit in miniature.

Moreover, a lamp comprises oil and a wick. Metaphorically, the oil represents the Torah and its mitzvos.3 The wick represents man — that is, the body,4 or, more correctly, the level of his soul called nefesh,5 which is “the body’s partner.”6 Moving on to the perspective of the Torah’s inner dimension, that soul-level is the Divine soul that is vested in the animal soul.7

Another characteristic of a lamp: when the wick is lit, and becomes one with the oil, the light of the lamp is diffused by many luminaries.8 These comprise two main modes of light:9 “black light” and “white light,” which represent respectively [two phases in man’s Divine service] — elevating [his soul] and, [reciprocally,] drawing down [spiritual light].10

Finally, the light of a lamp is uniquely effective when one is searching among hidden cracks and crannies, probing the heart’s innermost recesses.11

The metaphorical messages of the above characteristics are clear and self-evident — but what matters most is their practical application. When one applies them in his life according to the directives of the Rebbe [Rashab],848 one’s [inner] lamp lights up the particular portion of the world’s materiality that he is obligated to refine and elevate,12 and in particular, it lights up his own animal soul and Divine soul. This illumination is the ultimate purpose for which the soul descended to This World, and on it depends the ultimate purpose of the era of Mashiach and the Resurrection of the Dead.13 May this come speedily, in our own days, Amen.

Menachem Schneerson

25 Adar II, 5711 [1951],
Brooklyn, N.Y.