March 28, 2024 / 18 Adar II, 5784 • Parshat Tzav
Issue 814
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Keep That FLame Burning!

The fire that will burn upon the Altar regularly must not go out. 

Leviticus 6:6

We may sometimes feel so distant from the Torah’s expectations of us or encumbered by negative spiritual baggage that it is hard for us to imagine how we could even begin to live in accordance with our ideals.

In times of such pessimism, this verse empowers us to keep our Divine fire burning even when we feel unqualified or otherwise unable to enter realms of holiness.

By keeping our enthusiasm fired even in such times, the Divine flame within us will eventually burn away all impediments to joyful, holy living. As the Maggid of Mezeritch interpreted this verse, “If the [inner] fire [of the heart] is kept burning continuously, it will extinguish all negativity.”

But the fire can only be effective if it is kept burning continuously; any lapse in enthusiasm is an opportunity for pessimism to creep in. An intermittent fire or the memory of recent flames is therefore not enough; we must become adept at keeping our inner fires burning no matter how our moods may vary.

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3