Most Jewish holidays are ushered in with the lighting of two candles, symbolizing the partitioning between the mundane and the sacred, or between light and dark. Some traditions teach that the two candles represent the mitzvot (commandment) to remember and to honor, We are taught that both the masculine and feminine aspects of G-d are present once we kindle the flames.
And then the holidays end with the lighting of a different type of candle, one that is braided with at least three wicks. I like to imagine that this candle asks us to weave together the mystical and the every day, the beauty of both the dark and the light, and the disparate parts of ourselves. Why leave my sense of being surrounded by loving energy behind when I don the mantle of everyday life? Why not walk and sway with the rhythm of divine harmony and beauty throughout my life?
And what if there is a deeper message in the braided wicks that burn brighter than three candles alone? What if the answer we seek when searching for our life passion, mission, best life, authentic or other current admonitions, is hidden in the intertwined waxen stems? We are taught to search for the one answer, which teases and evades us as we disregard the possibility of mingled and plaited lives.
In many ways, life does require us to choose, and yet sacred lessons revolve around weaving our many paths into one powerful journey. And even in the most tightly woven pattern, there is still space between the strands that allow us to explore and grow, to open to new ideas and adventures. Much like a dance, a musical score, or even a poem, there is a moment of silence between moves, sounds, and words. These expressions of silence can only be heard or felt when differences are interlaced.
It is in from those spaces, those silent pauses that our answers sing out to us, calling us to release the need to adhere to the one way of being, and to embrace the many.