Monday, December 23, 2019

Sparks of Light

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

The mystics teach that every person contains within a spark of the Divine, the result of G!d's tzimtzum, the contraction of the Divine self to make room for Creation. The resulting holy vessels, containing the sacredness of the Universe, shattered, and sparks of holiness flew outward and entered into that very Creation.

It's not always easy to see the sparks of holiness in a person. When we are hurt by another, our ability to see their holy spark vanishes.

Sometimes I can't see the spark inside my spouse, my children, my siblings, my friends or my partners in social justice work. Sometimes their words or actions touch old wounds within me, and I cannot see the sacredness within them. Sometimes their words or deeds touch new wounds within me, wounds from the world around me, and I cannot see their spark.

And with some people out there in the world, it's sometimes, or often, hard for me to believe the spark is even there.

Rabbi Nachman reminds us to “Seek the good in everyone, and reveal it, bring it forth.” To see the spark.

Mystical tradition teaches that our job on Earth is to help the holy sparks join together. To bring the Divine in all into Unity. To heal the wounded world.

After a rain or an ice storm, when the Sun comes out, all the trees and bushes shine. I'm not able to capture meaningful images of this magical sparkling world, but I can see it and I can feel it. And I am enraptured. But it vanishes quickly, and the images from my camera don't adequately express what I saw and felt.

I do my best to retain the images in my mind's eye and in my heart.

I do my best to allow the image to meld with my own Divine spark, that together they may grow the holiness within me. Together they may help me see the spark in others. Together they may help me find the good in others. And altogether that they may create something new and unique and healing.

As I kindle the lights of Hanukkah, I am reminded that this is both a festival of light and a celebration of rededication. The sparkle of the flame, like that of the Sun on crystals of ice, is fleeting. But I pray that the lifespan of this light is enough to rekindle the spark within me and to remind me that there is a spark within each of those I love, within each of those with whom I struggle, within each of G!d's sacred creatures. And it is my job to find that spark and to join together with it to see the good in others, that I may do my part to increase the holiness in my personal universe and to help bring Unity into the world.

May it be so, for all of us.

Chag Urim Sameach - Happy Hanukkah!

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah. 


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures. The images, even if not a good as your view at the time, captured the essence of the beauty of the moment, which awakens my memory of the shimmering beauty of similar scenes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Scott! Keeping these images in our mind's eye and in our heart is definitely healing and strengthing.


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