The Oil That Didn’t Burn| November 30, 2021
Alight. Five stories of salvation
Miracles surround us. Often, they’re muted and barely noticed. But sometimes, Hashem pulls aside the curtain of nature, and reveals His Hand openly
As told to Mindel Kassorla
The Kleins loved having their grandfather come to visit them in Eretz Yisrael. When he returned to NY, he always left them with fond memories and a few gifts for the house — this time, a beautiful pair of candlesticks. Well, Shevy thought they were beautiful. They weren’t exactly Moshe’s taste; that kind of colorful tie-dye look which hinted at being off-the-beaten-path. He went for silver. But no matter; these would just be for guests.
The Kleins’ second bedroom was often occupied for Shabbos. This week, it was the Hirsches — a young American couple from Bayit Vegan. On Friday night, both couples would be eating out.
Just before candle lighting, Dina asked Shevy for tea lights. Shevy walked over to the breakfront and removed the tie-dye candles. “Why don’t you use these?” she suggested.
Moshe always did the candle setup. Tea lights Shevy could handle, but when it came to oil, she didn’t even know where they kept the wicks. Zaidy had told her that these candlesticks could be used with oil inserted directly into the glass grooves at the top of the candlesticks — no need for holders. They remembered Zaidy’s insistence that the candlesticks were fireproof, even though it seemed a bit strange. What were they made out of, anyway? But he said that the store owner had told him so. The two women lit their candles, and each couple left the apartment.
A few hours later, when the Kleins returned to their apartment, they opened the door slowly so as not to wake their guests, but they couldn’t hold back a strong cough as the smell of smoke smacked them in the face.
The pieces of the puzzle were laid right out in front of them: the floor was covered in soot, a broom and dustpan stood in the entranceway, there was ash and singed papers under the lichtbentshen shelf, and the ceiling just above was blackened by a massive stain. Shevy’s silver candlesticks were there, but where were Dina’s licht?
Moshe made his way to the kitchen and there they were in the sink, or at least what was left of them. A puddle of melted — was it plastic? Clearly a non-fire-proof material.
The Hirsches weren’t awake to confirm their suspicions, but Shevy and Moshe were able to put it all together. Something must have gone wrong with the new candlesticks. The Hirsches came home to a mess of ash, and cleaned up as best they could before going to bed.
It took a few moments for the shock to set in. There was a rack of magazines sitting right under the candlestick shelf, and that shelf was situated between two bookcases. If sparks had been flying, how did nothing catch fire?
“We had a miracle here tonight,” Moshe said. “I don’t know why — but we were spared a huge tragedy.”
Now, each week, when Shevy bentshes licht, she thanks Hashem for their neis.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 770)
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