Late one night, HaRav Yisroel Salanter zt"l chanced to a shoemaker’s home. The shoemaker was sitting and doing his work by the flickering light of a candle that was about to go out.
"Why are you still working?" Reb Yisroel asked him "The hour is late. Besides, your candle will soon go out, and you won’t be able to finish.
"That’s no problem" answered the shoemaker "As long as the candle is burning, it is still possible to work and to repair."
Reb Yisroel was deeply impressed by these words, for if someone must work for their physical needs as long as the candle is lit, how much more so must one work to serve Hashem and their spiritual improvement as long as the Neshama, ‘Hashem’s candle’ is still in them, i.e. they are still alive.
B'Ezras Hashem Yisbarech, this story will give us the proper inspiration coming into the Festival of Lights, and give us the proper perspective on things. And may Hashem make sure that it does, Amein vi'Amein, so may it be His Will.
Have a wonderful day everyone and a very Freilichen Chanukah!
- From Sparks of Mussar (original - HaMe'oros HaGedolim). By HaRav Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik zt"l. Feldheim Publications Ltd.