The Chandelier

The Chandelier

…from the tales of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.


The Chandelier.¬†One time, long ago, a son left his father’s house, and remained in a distant land for many years. When he eventually returned home, he announced proudly how he had learned the great art of constructing chandeliers. He asked his father to sponsor a gathering of all the local lampmakers, and he would demonstrate his skills.

His father invited all the masters of the craft to see the talent his son had learned during the time he was away. However, when the son took out a lamp that he had made, they all felt it was particularly ugly. The father later went over to the group of them, and asked that they tell him the truth. They had no choice but to tell the truth, and so they told the father that his son’s chandelier was very ugly indeed.

The son later boasted to his father, “Don’t you appreciate the wisdom of my work?”

The father replied that the other craftsmen considered his work as quite inferior.

The son replied, “They have it all wrong. As this very lamp demonstrates, I have shown my skill. Every artisan has his deficiencies, and through the lamp which I have made, I have revealed the shortcomings of each of these other lampmakers. Didn’t you realize that one lampmaker considered one part ugly, while another aspect he thought was designed quite beautifully? Another lampmaker considered the first part as most wonderful, while for him, the second part was made poorly. This is true with all of them. What one considers as bad, is fine by the others, and just so the reverse as well.”

“I constructed this chandelier from the shortcomings of the world and nothing else, to demonstrate to all of the lampmakers that they themselves don’t have perfection. Each one of them has his own shortcomings, since what is beautiful to one is deficient to the other. If I want to though, I can make a perfect lamp”.
If people knew all the shortcomings and lackings inherent in material things, they would realize the essential nature of a particular object even if they had never even seen it before.