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THEMES of Featured Ascent Lights

Returning with Great Wealth
The purpose of the exile is to uplift the holy sparks of the physical.
In this week's Torah reading, we see the beginning of the fulfillment of G-d's promise to Abraham: "Your seed will be strangers in a strange land...and afterwards they will leave with great wealth". Egypt would become the wealthiest of nations in order that the Jews could leave later with great wealth.
For the Sake of the Soul
Each of us should selflessly pray for the G-dly soul within us
The last night of Chanukah is when all of the candles are lit - no darkness remains, only light. It is the culmination of the holiday, when the ability to take control of our environment and be fully Jewish, rather than being controlled by our surroundings, is absorbed by each of us.
Taking Initiative
Judah elevates the physical, while Joseph draws down the supernal light
After Chanukah, each of us has been invested with new strength to be innovative in our Jewish observance. The warmth of Chanukah is needed especially now, during the month of Tevet, the coldest of the months. Likewise, Judah did not wait to be called. He took the initiative to do something. Similarly, each of us has to get out there and use some of the new potential we have acquired.
Growing in our Capacity to Love
This week’s Torah reading contains the most loving encounter in Jewish Scripture.
When Judah's offer himself as a slave, he was motivated by a clear love of his father that transcended ego. Although his father Jacob was indeed unfair in his favoring Joseph and then Benjamin, Judah is so deeply in touch with his love for his father that he no longer has room inside himself to entertain his own feelings of hurt and anger.
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