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Amidah-Kedusha-The Torch of Holiness

The 5th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, the Ohev Yisrael: We find in the Talmud, “How are the righteous before the Divine Presence? Like a candle before a torch (Pesachim 8a).” My Master, the Maggid, explained this using the Talmudic teaching back, “the light of a torch shines backward, and it jumps back and forth.”


The Torah alludes to the Creator, Who is infinite and boundless, and Who cannot be encompassed by any power. If God shined forth with His actual holiness, then all creation would be like nothing before Him. All universes would literally be nullified out of existence.

God therefore constricts His Divine Presence according to the strength of each created thing. Each thing is thus able to accept His sustenance and Life Force.

We are thus taught that, “though the Light of a Torch shines backward.” It is impossible to perceive God’s holiness, except through the aspect of its “back.”

It then goes on to say that the Torch’s Light “jumps back and forth.” The holiness is not bestowed constantly, but only little by little, and sometimes the Light must also be held back. (Ohev Yosrael; Kedoshim)

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