That's a very good question. Motzoai Shabbos we make a brocho borei meorei ho'aish. Now it's a pity, that's a tragedy, it's not utilized. it's a brocho on artificial light. Why should it happen that when you set fire to something it makes light?
You know, combustion is going on all the time - a piece of wood is rotting away, that's combustion. It's a chemical combination of the oxygen in the air with the carbon of the wood, only it's going on so slowly that you don't see any fire. When there is rapid combustion, it's a fire, and it produces light. Light is a miracle, don't think it's a small thing, light is a miracle. It cannot be explained in ordinary words, and even scientists have difficulty explaining what light means.
So on artificial light, we make a brocho on motzoai Shabbos and thank Hashem for that great gift! Artificial light is a matono gedolo. When you see a lamppost that makes the street illuminated, it's not dark, it's a pleasure, you can see where there is unevenness in the sidewalk, you watch your step. You can't make a brocho every day, but you should appreciate artificial light, and once a week on motzoai Shabbos we are given an opportunity to talk about it. It's a pity people don't understand that, borei meorei ha'aish..they think it's a ceremony. No, it's once a week, a time when we think about what a great gift light is.
When I was a boy they didn't have electric lights, they had gas lights, gas was burning. You had to take a match and light the gas light; electric light was something new.
And so when Edison came and he brought in a number of scientists and industrialists, and he said, "I'm going to show you a remarkable thing" and he turned on the first electric bulb, they were stunned. A light like the sun! Sunlight! The first time in history an electric light turned on. It's a very great matono that Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives us. So borei meorei ha'aish, artificial light is a cause for very great gratitude to us.
Certainly, a lamppost is an opportunity for thinking people to feel gratitude to the borei meorei ha'aish who created such a phenomenon in this world.
A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #350
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210