Inner Light


© Sarah Ann Hall

It was a great disappointment to Aaron’s Bubbe when Mom and Dad stopped being observant. The boy only got to see Zaide and Bubbe when he visited them in Brooklyn on summer vacation.

Every day, Zaide had many visitors, people of his community who had questions, family problems, money problems. Zaide was always cheerful, no matter when they dropped by, giving words of advice and comfort, even money, though they were both poor.

They were gone now and left him their small flat and belongings including these Kabbalistic candlesticks. “Light them Aaron,” Bubbe’s voice sang. “Be filled with Zaide’s ohr.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a wee story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

In a way, I took my prompt more from the portrait we see in the upper center frame than what look to me to be candlestick holders. It reminds me of those depicting the great Rabbinic sages, so I imagined Aaron’s Zaide (Grandfather) to be among them. Zaide would be busy so his Bubbe (Grandmother) would be the one he more related to.

I am very, very loosely combining the concepts of a Rebbe who is usually a revered teacher within a Hasidic community, and Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism (although that brief description hardly does it justice), specifically the idea of Ohr or spiritual light.

Aaron’s parents no longer follow the traditions, but it looks as if Zaide and Bubbe hope that one day  Aaron may return to the mitzvot (commandments).

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

56 thoughts on “Inner Light

  1. Had to read the explanation before I could really get what was happening – I think that’s just my ignorance. At it’s heart there are loving grandparents, so what’s not to like about that? Nice one.


    • I realized that the terminology wouldn’t be understandable by most folks, which is why I included the explanation beneath. Especially in 100 words, Yiddish words, and concepts involving “Rebbe” and “Kabbalah” is a lot to take in.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know we all focus on differing details to craft our tales, usually just what draws our gaze. More than once, after I’ve completed my story, I’ve wanted to kick myself for not seeing a detail that would have made a more interesting story. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Varad. Sadly, some people have separated Kabbalah from the larger Jewish mystic context and made it part of the “New Age” movement, suitable for consumption by celebrities.


  2. It’s a delight to read about these genuinely good people. I’m glad that Aaron could remember his Bubbe’s voice so clearly that she seemed to sing to him. I reckon he’ll light candles in those candlesticks.


  3. I like the way this was written. It has a feel of authenticity. I confess to being a little lost, but everything got cleared up in the afterward. Once I had the “glossary” the story is smooth and clear.


  4. This was a lovely read indeed, James. My father was a “Goy mit a Yiddishe kopf” so I needed no explanation. That, and I read all of Rochelle’s books 😉


  5. Great take on the prompt. I noticed the framed painting in the back but chose the gobblets instead. I grew up in Brooklyn in an orthodox jewish neighborhood so I knew what you were saying but I can see that some might need the explanation. I enjoy your story very much.
    Isadora 😎


    • Thanks, Isadora. My wife is Jewish, so I have some understanding of the community, but I’m totally aware that most folks would need a brief “primer.” I read a number of blogs from folks in India as well as other nations and they share their culture in their stories, which I love. They are also kind enough to offer explanations and it’s absolutely intriguing to be able to share in someone else’s lived experiences, even to a small degree.

      Liked by 1 person

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