by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman
....VEHAHAR BOER BA'AISH AD LEV HASHAMAYIM...
"When you give your heart to someone, you've touched heaven."
I call heaven and earth as witnesses for you today...." (Deut.4:26)
"HA'IDOTI VACHEM HAYOM ET HASHAMAYIM V'ET HA'ARETZ..."
Aretz and Shamayim, the earth and the heavens, are the witnesses at Sinai. Brought together to give testimony to the theophany- the Divine Revelation, G*d's Revelation of the Divine Light was seen through the fire at the covenantal meeting point, the holy nexus, between Hashem and Israel. The Alef and The Shin, the first letters of each word, aretz and shamayim, (earth and heavens), together spell AISH, meaning fire.
Aretz is the material world, while Shamayim represents the spiritual world. Fire is the middle mix, the connecting medium between the physical and spiritual worlds. The yahrzeit candle speaks to this idea, uniting in consciousness the souls of the departed and the living.
Just as a flame represents the soul of man, fire represents the coming together of heaven and earth. What is the soul's mission on earth but to be the contact point between G*d and the material world, transforming the dross of mundanity to unfold the image of the Divine Creator through acts of kindness and love.
When a Jew is called "a varmer yid," it means that his soul is on fire, a fire whose flames reach up to the heart of heaven to bring down on this ladder of fire an aspect of the Divine Light with which to illuminate the world. G*d blessed our holy fathers that their descendants should be like the stars of the heavens and like the sands of the sea. What this means is not that we would be a numerous nation, because in this week's parsha it says (Deut.7:7):
"...you are among the smallest of nations....KI ATEM HAM'AT MIKALL HA'AMIM."
Rather our destiny is to unite the upper worlds with the lower strata. We live on two planes of existence at once, with our feet a little bit in heaven and a little bit on earth. How do we reenact this Sinai event in our lives? How do we restore this consciousness of holy fire in our lives?
Shabbos. We bring in the Shabbos with holy fire and we take leave of Shabbos with holy fire. And in between these fires burns the essence of the Divine light, which, like the Ner Tamid, we keep lit constantly all through the week. Now Israel is compared to the bush which was not consumed. Just as G*d spoke to Moses from out of the burning bush, so too He spoke to Israel from out of the fire:
" Then G*d spoke to you from out of the fire....VAYIDABER HASHEM ALEICHEM MITOCH HA'AISH....(Deut. 4:12)."
We must understand that G*d's fire is burning everyday, His Divine Light is constantly renewing itself in creation. The sun's light is always shining- even on a rainy day, if you go above the clouds. We only hear the still small voice above the licking of the flames when we stop to listen.
The ketubah of Israel, the holy marriage contract between G*d and Israel at Sinai, was written in fire which went up to the heart of heaven. So too a husband and wife must see kindled within themselves a holy fire, G*d's Divine essence. And if each sees in the other a heart of heaven, then they together will be bathed in Divine light without being burned by the fire. It is a terrifying fire. It is a terrible fire, a fire which destroyed the Holy Temples of Yerushalayim. The holy cherubs above the Holy Ark locked in holy embrace even as the flames licked all around them.
And when all Israel sees in his fellow Jew a heart of heaven, then the flames which once offered sweet incense in G*d's Holy Abode will be rekindled once again and bathe the world in THE LIGHT THAT IS ALWAYS SHINING.