I was taught that candles are like house cats - domesticated versions of something wild and dangerous. There's no way to know how much of that killer instinct lurks in the darkness. I used to think the house-burning paranoia was the result of some upper-middle-class fear regarding the potential destruction of a half-million-dollar Westchester house the size of a matchbox. But then I realized the fear stemmed from something far less complex: we're not used to fire. Candles are a staple of the Judaic existence and, like many suburban residents before us, we're pretty bad Jews.