We are told that we are to be a “light unto the nations.” Some Jews keep their heads low, and feel that somehow we have failed in this mission. They are embarrassed. They point to all sorts of not great things that Jews have been doing, and say, “Yeh, some light!” Is everything farfallen?

When we perform a mitzvah, we bring light into the world. The Sfas Emes, in discussing this weeks Torah portion, Tetzaveh, writes that Hashem created the light that is released when we do a good deed. That light, the feeling of goodness and brightness and beauty is not intrinsic, it is a feature built into the mitzvah. Each Jew has the potential to be a light unto the nations by performing the mitzvos. This was symbolized by the lighting of the Menorah each day in The Holy Temple.

The fact that not every Jew is bring down the light does not abdicate our obligation to bring light into the world through our own connection with Hashem, and our own performance of Mitzvos. Yeah, lots of people get caught all the time doing things that bring darkness, and it is up to us to counter the darkness by bringing light. Maybe, it means that we have to do even more.
Gut Shabbos and Shabbat Shalom.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Inspirational Rabbi, and I’m not a Jew. I was a Christian until I just found out Christ has apparently been blinding people with his light.

  • This post brought to mind a quote from Reb Shlomo Carlebach that I came across recently, and just have to share here.

    Reb Shlomo said that :if a man should fall to sin, he must deeply forget it for five minutes and then rise up and continue. If you regret too much you have no room left in you to live, to grow, to create, to continue…as our sages have taught us “evil is full of regret”.

    I though those words fit perfectly with your post, and perhaps we can all learn something from them.