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Quiet Influence

12/07/2018 12:23:48 PM


Who are the biggest influencers in your life? How do you influence others?

The chanukah lights contain a profound answer to these questions.

Our rituals and customs each influence us in different ways. When we blow the shofar, or shake the lulav, or pray, or ear matza, or study Torah, or give tzedakkah, each of these actions stimulate our minds and tickle our hearts with their unique messages.

Similarly, when we sit by the lights of the menorah, we are moved by energies of hope, strength, gratitude and willpower.

Yet the menorah's power of influence is very different than any other mitzvah. The candles burn quietly, they make no sound. Simply sitting in their still presence overwhelms us in remarkable ways.

This is what sociologists call 'Quiet Influence'.

There are many people who have influenced our lives. Our parents, teachers, and friends. Yet there is another kind of person who has had great influence over us. Not through their words - we may never have had any interaction with them. Yet their presence, and their aura, has inspired us. Perhaps its their life-story, or their demeanor, or their righteous persona. Without communicating even a single word to us, they have contributed to our development and transformation.

This idea equally applies to how we try to influence others, whether it be a spouse, a child, a student, or a friend. We tend to think that we need to always say and do something significant in order to affect them. But sometimes it might just be our very presence in their lives which can have the greatest influence. Simply by being there for them and available to them, with love and respect, might be the most powerful gift of influence and connection.

So as you sit by the light of your menorah, think about how you can serve as a menorah light for another person. Without words or actions, how can your very presence in their lives illuminate their heart and inspire their soul?

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784