Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Beha’alotcha. The portion
begins with a brief discussion of the lighting and construction
of the Menorah.
Menorah has many teachings in service of Hashem. The portion
begins “Beha’alotcha Et Hanerot,” which is translated when you
will kindle the candles. Beha’alot’cha is an interesting term.
To kindle is L’hadlik. The translation of Beha’alot’cha is when
you will cause to rise. In reference to the Menorah, this
teaches a law that the Kohen must hold the flame to the wick
until the wick burns well on its own. This teaches many lessons.
The soul of a person is called “The candle of Hashem.” The Torah
is called light. When we study the Torah, we bring light into
our lives and kindle the candle of our soul. When we study
superficially, it illuminates that moment. When we look deeper
into the Torah, and truly ponder into its wisdom, seeking to
apply its wisdom to every part of our lives, the “flame” ignites
fully and continues to illuminate our lives after we finish
When we teach someone Torah, we share light with them. When we
teach someone how to learn Torah on their own, and share with
them sufficient warmth and depth that they want to continue on
their own, we have kindled a Menorah. When they learn to
illuminate others, lights spreads and darkness recedes. The
Previous Rebbe once defined a Chassid as a lamplighter.
Menorah represents the Jewish people. Hashem calls the Jewish
people “A candle to the nations.” Interestingly, the seven
branches of the Menorah all faced inward, towards the central
branch. Seemingly, were the wicks to face outward, the Menorah
would produce more light. This teaches us that in our mission to
illuminate the world with the light of Torah, we mustn’t seek to
become as worldly as possible, but rather look deeper into the
depths of Torah and seek how it illuminates each aspect of the
world. This strengthens our light and gives us the power to
illuminate the world.
Rashi explains the term Beha’alotcha to mean that there was a
step leading up to the Menorah. In order to illuminate, we must
elevate ourselves. Sometimes, when we take time from our own
spiritual pursuits to share with others, we feel this is a
spiritual downfall. The term Beha’alotcha teaches us that it is
an Aliyah, an elevation.
Menorah was neither welded nor molded, but rather beaten from
one single piece of gold. This teaches us that that Jewish
people must feel themselves as limbs of one entity, and that the
pain of another is our pain and the joy of another is
our joy. Further, the beauty of the Menorah and its
stability was based on the branches being distinct and on
opposite sides of the center. We must view our differences as
part of a beautiful harmony and balance.
Further in the portion, the Torah describes the Pillar of Divine
Fire that led the Jews through the desert. When we illuminate
ourselves and take that fire and illuminate others, Hashem gives
us a special guidance. As we internalize the warmth and light of
Torah, Hashem’s guidance and protection increase.
Further, the Torah describes the two trumpets used in the
desert. The trumpets were called Chatzotzrot. The Maggid of
Mezrich explains that the word is a composite of the Hebrew
words chatzi tzurah, half forms. The trumpets remind us that our
unity with Hashem is like two halves of one entity. This
parallels the teaching that man and wife are one soul, divided
at birth and united at marriage.
Towards the end of the portion, the Torah teaches that Moshe was
extremely humble compared to all people of the world. Seemingly,
how could he be humble? He was the redeemer of the Jewish
people, he stood alone on Mount Sinai with Hashem and he
regularly spoke to Hashem in the Tent of Meeting. The Torah
teaches us the true meaning of humility. Humility is not
ignoring one’s qualities. Humility is recognizing that our
qualities are a gift from Hashem. Moshe felt that if someone
else had his opportunities, they would have accomplished even
more. This understanding of Humility gives us a beautiful
insight into respecting others. If other people had our gifts
and opportunities, perhaps they would have done better. If we
were given their lot, we might have been much worse.
Strife was that cause of the destruction of the Temple. May we
soon witness its rebuilding and the rekindling of the Menorah
through the coming of Moshiach.
Project of Chabad of Great Neck
East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
4874554 fax 516 4874807