After a crater erupts, volcanic ash may blacken
the sky and make the sunsets lurid for months;
There are eclipses of the sun, the stinging
darkness of dust storms, and the totality of
All of these remind us of the Egyptian darkness,
so thick it could be tasted and felt.
Could the children of Israel, rebellious and
frightened slaves, have lit their homes with
the symbolic light of faith or good deeds?
Perhaps they cherished a glimmering hope
that man could achieve greatness on earth,
rather than in the pyramids of the dead.
Perhaps they blew on the spark of their hope
that Israel, the lowliest of peoples,
might achieve freedom.
In the thick darkness of the Egyptian night
they could not foresee how often the nations
would shoulder them out into the shadow,
How often their freedom would be reduced
to a flicker, burning for a moment
after the oil is gone.
We pray God renew this miracle for us:
that in the darkness of our age, in blackout
and rejection, in fear and ignorance,
He will cause a light to burn for us,
A light of learning, a light of freedom,
a light of faith, a light of good deeds.
These are the lights we pray will burn together
to make a bright blaze of hope for mankind.
--Ruth Brin, from Interpretations.