We have begun reading the Torah all over again, starting with the creation of the world. On the first day of creation, God said “light” and there was light. However, the sun, moon and stars were not yet created. We are left wondering where this first light came from, what was its source? And does it still exist today?
The Torah tells us that the first light was “good”. We also know that it was the antithesis of the darkness that the Torah describes as filling the earth prior to creation – a darkness associated with chaos and emptiness. Therefore, we can believe that the first light was an energy or force associated with peace and wholeness. And this would explain why it was “good”.
So where is this light today? As we light Shabbat candles tonight, we have the ability to see this light. We are not supposed to use the light of Shabbat candles to read, cook or simply fill the darkness. The light of Shabbat candles is supposed to remind us that our day of peace, joy and rest has begun. Our Shabbat candles are supposed to remind us that it is “good”: life is good. As we rush through our week and get stressed out by daily challenges, we easily forget that life is good. The light of the candles brings us back to the light of creation – the good light.
Prior to creating the first light, the Torah tells us that the breath of G-d swept across the surface of the earth: before the light appeared, G-d breathed. As you light your candles tonight and start Shabbat, catch your breath. Breathe. Light your candles. Cover your eyes. Stand in the darkness for a moment. Open your eyes and see the light of creation: the epitome of goodness. Live in that goodness for a day – enjoying the peace of Shabbat.