Unfortunately, this quote’s author is unknown. The quote is what’s called a Midrash, which is commentary on Hebrew scriptures. These commentary, or “textual interpretation,” were written by Judaic authorities as far back as the 2nd century AD.
Knowing the history of this quote gives it a deeper meaning. However, it also brings up nagging questions. For instance, which text is it a commentary on? What’s the name of the person who wrote it?
Putting these questions aside, let’s get back to the deeper meaning.
We live in a world that tells us, in order to shine brighter we must diminish the light of others in comparison. So we see countless examples in history of oppression in order to have a sense of superiority–to shine brighter. However, this quote tells us that “Many candles can be kindled from one candle without diminishing it.” This is true. It’s also true in the sense that uplifting other’s should not have a negative impact on the value we all possess.