lamp lighter"I once heard from my father-in-law [Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson] that his father, Rabbi Sholom Dovber, was once asked, "What is a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassid?" He replied, "A Chassid is like a street-lamp lighter."

Many years ago, before electricity, there was a person in every town who would light the street-lamps with a light he carried at the end of a long pole.

The tall lamps stood there ready on the street-corners, waiting to be lit; sometimes, however, the lamps are not as easily accessible. There are some lamps that stand in far forsaken places, in deserts, or at sea.

We need someone dedicated and caring to go out of his way to light even those lamps, so that they may fulfill their purpose and illuminate the paths and walkways. As is written, "The soul of man is the candle of G‑d," and "A Mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light."

A Chassid is one who puts his personal affairs aside and sets out to light up the souls of Jews with the light of Torah and Mitzvot. Jewish souls stand at the ready, willing and waiting to be kindled. Sometimes they are very close, nearby; sometimes they are distant in a desert, or far out at sea.

Someone must forgo his or her own comforts and conveniences, and reach out to light those lamps. This is the basic function of a Chabad Chassid.

Actually, this function is not limited to Chassidim, but it is the duty of each and every Jew. Divine Providence brings us to the most unexpected, remote places, so that we may carry out this important goal and purpose of lighting up the world.

May each of us be a dedicated 'street-lamp lighter,' and fulfill his/her duty with joy and gladness of heart."