Rabbi Yisrael Salanter was once returning home quite late at night. As he walked through the dark alleyways towards home, he suddenly realized that a candle still burned in the house of the shoemaker. Rabbi Yisrael knocked on the door of the shoemaker and entered.
“Why,” Rabbi Yisrael, “are you still sitting and working at such a late hour?”
“Rebbe – as long as the candle burns,” the shoemaker replied, “it is still possible to fix.”
Rabbi Yisrael was extremely moved by the simple, yet deep lesson from the shoemaker, and from that point on, he would quote the phrase often.
“Do you hear?” Rabbi Yisrael would ask his students. “As long as the candle burns, one can still make repairs. As long as a person lives, and his soul remains inside him, he can return to God and mend his ways…”