The story is told of a small mountain village in Europe many years ago. In this village there was a nobleman with no children. He was concerned about the legacy he would leave behind. He spent a great deal of time contemplating his dilemma and, at last, decided to build a synagogue. As this was his gift to the community, he spent many hours and a great sum of money working with the contractors, the designers and the builders to create the most magnificent synagogue anyone had ever seen. However, he sought no one’s input or guidance. He determined that no one would see the plans for the building until it was completed.
The project took a long time, much longer than anyone had planned. At long last, the construction was finished. The townspeople were excited and curious about what they would find upon entering their new synagogue. When they came into the building for the first time, they marveled at the magnificence. There were rooms of every shape and size, suitable for worship services, classes, meetings, parties, gatherings, and every other conceivable function. And no one could ever remember so beautiful a sanctuary anywhere in the world!
As they looked around, however, someone noticed a seemingly obvious flaw in the design. One of the townspeople asked, Where are the lamps? Everyone looked around and, sure enough, nowhere in the entire building was a light or a lamp to be found.
The proud nobleman simply pointed out brackets that were strategically placed all along the walls throughout the synagogue. He then brought the people in close to him. He gave each family a lamp As he did so, he explained, Whenever you come to the synagogue, I want you to bring your lamp, and light it. When we are all here together, our synagogue will shine brightly. But when you are not here, the lamp will remind you that some part of our building will be dark. I have built for you the structure, but YOU must bring the light.