If You Light One Candle
Prepared by Rabbi Chaim Miller
An excerpt from Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent speech in Leeds

I think that we are obviously meeting in times that require not only commitment to Israel but a commitment to the truth. And having spoken to some of you this evening, all of you feel in many ways the truth is being assailed.

I think all feel as we do that there is this enormous battle for the truth that is taking place.

I first understood its power and impact when I came to the UN and shortly after I came to New York I had a knock on my office door. There stood a tall handsome chassid with a beard. And I looked at him and he looked at me, and he said: "You don’t recognize me? I’m Sh’meier."

"Sh’meier? You were a kibbutznik from a left-wing Kibbutz Ki Sufim."

"Well I’ve changed. You must come to the Lubavitcher Rebbe tonight."

I said: "Tonight?"

"Yes, absolutely."

I said "All right eight o’clock."

"Eight o’clock? No 12 o’clock at night." And he picked me up and we went to Eastern Parkway. There must have been 3,000-4,000 Jews. This was Simchat Torah and inside in a hall about one third this size there were about 5,000 Jews packed in valleys and hills, on crates and boxes, and they put me on a little stage where the Rebbe was supposed to come and he told me to wait.

The door opened, the Rebbe came in and walked to the stage, turned around, and started reading the Torah [i.e., presumably this means that the Rebbe was saying a sicha]. And ‘Sh’meier comes to me and whispers: "Now."

I said "Now?" He says: "Yes go to the Rebbe now. He’s reading the Torah. go now."

I approached the Rebbe with great trepidation. I had never met him before. I came to his right shoulder and I tapped on it gently and I said: "Rebbe, I came to see you."

And he replied: "Just to see, not to talk?"

So we starting talking. We talked for about five minutes, then 10 minutes then 15 minutes and as we talked I could hear this rumble behind us because the chassidim were getting awfully anxious and impatient.

This went on for 30 minutes and by the time we got to 35 minutes I thought that my physical well-being was in danger, because they wanted the Rebbe. They didn’t want the Rebbe talking to me. They wanted the Rebbe talking to them. And after 45 minutes he stopped, went back to the Torah and then he began the proceedings of Simchat Torah, which were very moving.

I remember him and his brother-in-law – he must have been in his 80’s at that time – each of them holding a big Torah scroll, dancing in a pool of light. Everything was dark except that pool of light in the centre of that hall, and here were these two ancient Jews holding our ancient scrolls dancing amidst this circle of fervor. It was quite extraordinary.

The Rebbe told me at that time: "You’re going into the House of Lies." That’s what he called the UN. Given what has recently happened in Durban, I think that was an understatement. And he said: "Remember that in the darkest chamber, if you light one candle, the candle of truth, it spreads a light that can be seen from afar that dispels the darkness."

And he asked me to light the candle of truth for the Jewish people and the Jewish state. And I have since tried to do that, and that’s what we have to do today. Now we are faced with a barrage of lies and deceits. The most obvious one is that you hear today is that the assault on the United States and the savagery that was inflicted on Washington and New York is the result of the animosity to Israel…

[After a long speech he concluded:]

I know that you are here because you care about the Jewish future and the future of the Jewish state. And I want you to go out there from this hall, and from other halls and hold the candle for truth and do exactly as the Rebbe said."


"The Rebbe asked me to light the candle of truth for the Jewish people and the Jewish state."


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