Since Hanukkah, I have been attracted to the 'character' displayed by the flame of a candle. Even on Shabbat I have witnessed differences between two candles in how they burn (starting from any difficulties just in lighting).

I am looking for any sources that focus on insights regarding candles and flames.

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    specifically regarding how they burn, what you refer to as the 'character', or anything about candles and flames? – Y     e     z Feb 28 '16 at 4:10
  • Inspiration for the question came from the way they burn; however information in general of further insights is appreciated. – Re'eh Feb 29 '16 at 13:45
  • I jotted some notes about this here – Lee Mar 30 '16 at 8:14
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    Chassidus Chabad, and maybe other chassidus, contains a lot about this topic. There are also a lot of minhagim. We don't blow out a candle, for instance, because it represents a soul. Traditionally, when lighting a candle, we hold the match to the wick until the flame can stand on its own. The havdala flame has its own set of haunting resonances. There is much profoundly moving scripture about candles, starting with The light of G-d is the soul of man. ...Candles in Judaism is a beautiful topic with lots more to say. "Has anyone derived meaning from candle flame," absolutely. – SAH Jun 12 '18 at 9:56

the Arizal reportedly was able to tell things from looking at the flame of a candle as Rav Chaim Vital says in the Introduction to Shaar HaHakdamot

He knew the mysteries of gilgul [reincarnation], who had been born previously, and who was here for the first time. He could look at a person and tell him how he was connected to higher spiritual levels, and his original root in Adam. The Ari could read wondrous things [about people] in the light of a candle or in the flame of a fire. With his eyes he gazed and was able to see the souls of the righteous, both those who had died recently and those who had lived in ancient times. With these departed souls, he studied the true mysteries...All this we saw with our own eyes. These are not things that we heard from others.

just dont try this at home

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artscroll comments on Proverbs/Mishlei (20:27)

נֵ֣ר יְ֭הוָה נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ כָּל־חַדְרֵי־בָֽטֶן׃
A man's soul is the lamp of Hashem which searches the chambers of one's innards

and writes

  • a flame seeks to go up and up even though, if it separates from its wick, it will be extinguished. So too the desire of the soul is to go upward and reunite with Hashem, even though this will mean the end of its temporal life (Tanya)
  • as long as a flame goes up, it gives light; when it flickers and no longer rises, it is going out and will not illuminate. So too a person. As long as his soul strives for the heights, the person will grow and be a good example for others. But then he no longer strives, he will not be a source of spiritual light (Shem MiShmuel)
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Sharei orah from the second chabad rebbe http://www.hebrewbooks.org/16003

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