Chanukah & Integrity
If a lamp has an image of an idol on it, is a Jew permitted to light his lamp with it? Our Rabbis taught thus: It is forbidden for a Jew to light his candle from a candle that has an image of
an idol on it (Tanchuma Vayeitze #10).
In the classic Judaic sense, idolatry means to erect false intermediaries between man and God. The Kotzker, however broadens the concept to include the flattery of falsehood per se. Respecting the outer facade of things, spiritual glibness are considered a form of idol worship (Leaping Souls, Outwardness).
When we honor the surface of things, what kind of light are we bringing in? When we feel disconnected from the essence of our Godly service, when our performance of Mitsvot is focused on appearances rather than on the integrity of our relationship with our Creator, from what candle are we lighting ours? When we adulate people only for external factors, are they igniting our lamp?
Before lighting our Menorah, we can reflect on the relationships we have that are not based on sincere respect of common values. We can think of the instances when we tend to fake it and are drawn to the surface of things.
We want to light our candle from a candle devoid of any pretense and falsehood. We want our lights to shine with the intensity of simple, unadulterated and pure intentions.