Peace? Calm? Spiritual freedom? Such big words. How is this reachable? There are so many problems in the world. Each person feels they have the solution to it all. But what if as individuals we can find the calm in ourselves? Why work on settling the world around us when we can settle our hearts?

For years I lived to try to fix everyone else. Each time I faced negativity, I fought. Each time, I battled. And sometimes I thought I won. Yet, the negativity around never eased.

I remember one Friday afternoon. It was right after lighting my Shabbos candle on a cold winter day in tenth grade. The weeks and months that had passed felt long. Cold and long. Cold from spiritual coldness, and long from trying to pull through all that coldness. I had found myself in surroundings where it felt like a challenge to stick up for what I knew was right. I felt a struggle to keep to my standards. I felt I was battling to be who I truly am: A Jewish princess. I let the outside voices into me, and I found myself fighting chaos around.

I gazed at my lit candle. I smiled. I felt it was mirroring me. The true me. The me that wasn’t fighting. The me that wasn’t facing anything. Just me. The perfect untouched me. I saw my flame. I saw me.

It was so beautiful. It told me I’m beautiful. It told me I’m strong. A candle. A tea light. So simple, yet so complete. Too complete to describe in words. It brought me to inner calm and peace. True peace. Peace from within. So that no matter what went on around me, I had the strength to not be affected. My candle kept me strong.

Each week I light my flame again. Each week I am reminded of who I am. Each time I light my candle, I get the strength for the week ahead. So whenever challenge hits, I know I can always think back  to my light – My true inner light.


— Racheli Dubov, Age 18
Machon Shoshana
Brooklyn, NY