A Soul; A Flame

Shaina Rochel Goldstein
Creative 2020 / Finalists


After my father’s passing at a young age, darkness seemed to surround me from all sides. For me, his neshama seems to have left this world too soon, even though I know his soul is content because he has joined his infinite source on high. This sudden event made me wonder about the purpose of life and the meaning of something as holy as the soul; a piece of G-d himself, enclothed in a physical body. 

A basic foundational teaching(1) of Chassidus helped invoke clarity on this deeply introspective matter. A mix of emotions inspired me to compose this poem, which depicts the process of my pain and my subsequent state of reality. Throughout my experience I learned that in order to embrace my father’s legacy I must emulate what his entire life represents – a transformation of the physical into vessels for light of Spirituality. Reaching upwards towards G-dliness, he achieved the perfect combination of unity and coexistence between the physical and spiritual. His sole desire was to use Torah and Mitzvot for a righteous purpose, thereby fulfilling G-ds true intent for creation.- making this world a dwelling place for Him. 

Through this goal of unifying opposites, we are able to create a candle that shines forth, symbolic of the flickering flame to illuminate the darkness that surrounds it. This is the purpose of each soul in this world. We are not meant to nullify ourselves to our source(2), but to remain steadfast in learning G-d’s Torah, fulfilling G-d’s commandments and refining our portion in this world. This can only be done here in the world below. 

Through embarking on this mission, I will not let my father’s flame be extinguished from its source, yet continue to tend the embers of fire that will last forever, creating an everlasting glow from below to above. 

The flames are flickering
Like the embers of a soul
Reaching upward to connect to its source
Seemingly leaving everything behind in the dark 

The warmth of the flame to envelope me
From the harshness of the coldest winter
It used to make the cold; As if,

The ice was never there
It melted all with a slightest touch
In a world that would shine with this light of mine
His song rising with notes that pierced the night 

Flames that flicker
To connect
To the one above yet remaining here below
And then one day the flames reached upwards
Remained and separating –
Wick and flame
Devoid of light, of sight 

Leaving me with a supernal choice
To rise above limitations
Moving upwards
While remaining attached to this wick 

To embrace the precious work done
Through a daring and courageous battle
Until the last moment
And keep both candle and flame united

the un -questionable question remains
Can I rise above
All the wind
All the thickness of the wax
The world below 

And reach that
Perfect balance
To create ,to uphold ,to honor
Both Wick and flame
As one 

1) Mamer Basi Legani א“תשי
2)Lekutie Amorim Chapter 19