Lamp and Lights – Proverbs 6:23
Some see the observance of the commandments as drudgery. They see in the performance of the commandments a stifling of the creative side of man, of his independence and of man’s appreciation for adventure.
Others see dedication to the commandments as a mindless and heartless approach to life. They see the fulfillment of the commandments as legalistic and narrow-minded.
Yet others view the observance of the commandments as an activity that induces self-righteousness and haughtiness. These people see the observance of the commandments as something that can potentially lead people away from the light and grace of God.
King Solomon was inspired to see man’s obedience to God’s commandment in a different light.
Solomon saw God’s perfect Law as light and each of the commandments as another lamp diffusing that light. Each and every commandment is God’s personal directive to every individual who is included in the purview of that particular commandment. It is the Creator of heaven and earth and all that exists between them that is talking to the individual and telling him or her: “My son, My daughter I am commanding you, yes you, to observe and to follow. You know that I am your King and the King of all existence. Here is an opportunity to acknowledge My sovereignty, to live out the truth of My sovereignty, in your words, in your deeds and in the deepest recesses of your consciousness.
The highest achievement of man is to recognize and acknowledge that every facet of existence belongs solely to God. It takes all of man’s creativity and all of his independence to bring all of his being in line with the ultimate truth. The highest understanding that our minds can attain is the understanding of the completeness of God’s sovereignty. And the deepest yearning of our heart is to bow to the One who created all.
Obedience to God’s commandments has nothing to do with self-righteousness and it has everything to do with submission to God’s righteousness.
The world may not appreciate observance of the commandments; the world may even look down at the observance of the commandments. But the lights of Chanukah testify that the beauty of obedience to God’s command has conquered in the past and will prevail into the future.
The light of the world is the truth of God’s sovereignty. And the beauty of the world is the opportunity that God gave us to fill our lives with that truth.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal