The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD,
that sheds light on one’s inmost being. — Proverbs 20:27
Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant men in history, once said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Life certainly is a balancing act, perhaps now more than ever. We try to balance home life with work life, family time with personal time, time at the gym with time doing something generous. Many of us are juggling so many balls at one time, we certainly get what Einstein meant. Stop for one moment, and all the balls will fall to the ground.
But there is another type of balance that really is the most importance balance of all: The balance between the material aspects of life and our spiritual aspirations, between body and soul. When we get the balance right on these two, everything else falls into place.
In Proverbs we read, “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD.” In Hebrew, the word for lamp is literally candle. Our soul is God’s candle.
Picture a candle for a moment. The flame is always flickering, always striving upward. It’s as if the flame would leap off the wick and up to heaven if it could. But it can’t because the flame is attached to the candle, which is grounded by the force of gravity, firmly on earth. Moreover, if the flame could escape, the candle would be no more.
So, too, explain the Jewish sages, we all possess souls that are driven heavenward. This can be experienced as a drive toward a meaningful life, a passion for inspirational experiences, or the desire to escape the mundane world for a purely spiritual existence. Yet, we are bound by our earthly existence. There are bills to pay, food to be cooked, laundry to be done, and so on and so forth. This is the tension of the candle and the flame. Yet, we are called to bring them into balance.
The verse in Proverbs continues: “ . . . that sheds light on one’s inmost being.” When we can grasp a piece of heaven while firmly planted on earth, we can become a light that illuminates our own character and the dark places of the world. This is what it means to live in balance: to go through our lives while infusing our material living with spiritual meaning. When both our physical and spiritual aspects are in check, we can bring great light to ourselves and to the world.
Take some time this week to check your balance. Are you giving your soul enough time and space to breathe? Are you taking enough care of your physical needs? Once you find your balance and rhythm, keep moving forward, bringing God’s light with you wherever you go.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President