“And you shall command the Children of
Israel and they should take for you clear olive
oil, fit for illumination, to light a lamp
continually.” (Exodus 27:20) This commandment
refers to the daily lighting of the Menorah in
As the Medrash Rabba says (Exodus 31:2),
G-d did not need our light for any purpose.
Rather, G-d wants us to repay Him for all the
light He has given us; now it was our turn to
give G-d light. Just as G-d shined light upon us
by giving us the “clouds of glory” during our
time in the desert and leading us to the promise
land, we repay G-d by lighting the Menorah in
Commenting on the Medrash, the Yefe Toar
asks if G-d does not need our light how is
lighting the Menorah in the Tabernacle repaying
for all the goodness He has given us?
Furthermore, how would it be possible to repay
G-d for all He did for us in the desert if there
isn't anything we can offer G-d that He cannot
Rather, the Yefe Toar explains, it is
the gesture that is considered sufficient
payback. By lighting the Menorah each day, we
demonstrate our recognition and thanks for the
light G-d has shined upon us and G-d considers
our debt to be paid in full.
There are many situations when we can
never truly repay the kindness shown us by
others but showing how much we recognize and
appreciate that kindness can go just as far. By
being grateful for the kindness of others, we’re
able to pay down our debt of gratitude.
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