Author Topic: PARSHAT BEHA'ALOTECHA - A MENORAH BY ANY NAME  (Read 1920 times)

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Offline TorahZionist

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« on: June 01, 2007, 06:49:34 AM »

Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

16 Sivan 5767/1-2 June 2007


Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aharon and say to him: When you
kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast
light." Moses, though, could not comprehend why Hashem asked him to relay
this commandment. For every time he would enter the Tabernacle, he found
that it was brilliantly lit with the splendor of the Divine Presence. How,
wondered Moses, could the lights of the poor earthly Menorah compare to the
splendor which Hashem radiates? Hashem, therefore, told Moses to kindle the
lights, for through this action, the Jewish people would become spiritually
elevated by the lighting of the Menorah. Yes, even though the Divine light
was there, there was still a need for the Jewish people to bring the light.
In fact, if we would wake up one day and have fire come down from Heaven and
light the Menorah for us, we would not be able to use it, but are commanded
to bring our own light.

With this in mind, I remember once a friend of mine commenting on the
sentence in our parsha. The workmanship of the Menorah was such that it was
hammered out of gold, from the base to its flowers it is hammered out;
according to the vision that Hashem showed Moses, so he made the Menorah.

Upon seeing how complex the making of the Menorah was, my friend became
dismayed, saying that even Moses was perplexed about how the Menorah should
be constructed, until Hashem Himself took Moses and showed him. If so, then
this is an almost impossible task - how can we hope to build one today, for
without it there seemingly can be no work in the Temple.

Pressed for an answer, I turned to the Rambam to see if he could shed
some light on the subject (pardon the pun). Yes, it seemed very complex,
with all the flowers, knobs and buttons decorating the Menorah making a
total of 42. If just one is missing, the Menorah cannot be used in the
Temple service. Moreover, the Menorah must stand on three legs, with a
height of about a meter and a half. All of this was to come from one piece
of gold. I cried out, who can build such a Menorah? Were we doomed forever
not to have a working Menorah?

But reading on in the Rambam, the answer came. All of the above laws
apply when the Menorah is made out of gold, but if we make it out of any
other metal we do not have to have the flowers, buttons or knobs, and it
does not have to be made out of one piece. This means that even today, we
can go to the Temple Mount and have the Kohanim light a Menorah and thus to
fulfill the commandment of the lighting. All we need is the spot on the
Temple Mount and seven metal poles, the tips of which could hold the olive

Historically, this is exactly what we find when the Maccabees re-entered
the Temple after successfully throwing out the Greeks. The golden Menorah
had long been taken out of the Temple by the Greeks; the Macabees took seven
long poles and placed the oil on top of them, fulfilling the commandment of
the lighting. It was not until some years later that they had the financial
means to make one out of silver, and then, finally, out of gold. Yes, years
later, they, the Hashmona'im, were able to finally make one out of gold. As
complex as it may be, still, the bottom line is that if Hashem commanded the
Jewish people with a commandment (in this case, to build a Menorah to light
everyday), then it must be in our power to do so, for Hashem would not
command anything that could not be done.

This, then, is the great lesson to be learnt here: If Hashem gave us the
mitzvah/commandment, then it is in our hands to do, including the Menorah,
the Temple and all the other items needs for the service. Come - Let us all
go and build the House of the L-rd!

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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