Dear Readers,

As the new month brings us the Festival of Lights, we devote the Kislev edition of JHOM to the topic of FIRE.

R. Simeon ben Lakish teaches: The Torah given to Moses was written with black fire upon white fire, sealed with fire, and swathed with bands of fire. While writing it, Moses wiped off the reed on his hair — thus he conceived the radiance that was to emanate from his countenance

Aside from the beauty of its imagery, this midrash has a crucial message for Jews of every generation. Fire is essentially dangerous and potentially destructive. Used aggressively as a weapon, it can maim and kill; handled carelessly, one can set fire to one's surroundings and be burned oneself. The challenge of receiving the Torah is to use its lessons to spread warmth and light, nourishment and love. The person who succeeds in so doing, will — like Moses — radiate goodness and draw people near to him.

Among the articles on FIRE, we include:

Theophany at the Burning Bush
Fire as a sacred folk symbol of life and fertility
Why the study of Torah is likened to fire
Talmudic views on (the fires of) sexual temptation
Midrashim regarding the creation of fire and ancient Israelite fire
A close look at the Havdalah ceremony

Have a look at our unusual collection of JHOM electronic greetings cards.. These may be sent at no cost to your friends and relatives or customized with your company logo and mass e-mailed for a modest fee. Visit also our new JHOM store with gift ideas for the holiday season. As always, we welcome your feedback, ideas and suggestions.

The Editor

[1] From the poem "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1971) by Anne Sexton (1928-1974).
[2] JT, Shel. 6:1, 49d [back]



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