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|T O R A H F A X - Torah on the spot for people on the go|
Thursday, Sivan 9, 5768 / June 12, 2008
This week's Parsha, Beha'alotcha begins with G-d's instructions to Aaron concerning the lighting of the Menorah.
Instead of using the word "Lehadlik" which means to "kindle," the Torah uses the word "Beha'alotcha" which literally means to "elevate."
Torah sages discuss the reason for this and many solutions have been suggested. Some say that Aaron had to climb several steps in order to light the Menorah.
Although the Menorah was not high and he would have been able to clean and kindle the Menorah standing on the ground, Aaron was wearing a plate on his forehead with G-d's name engraved on it. Therefore, he was not permitted to lift his hands beyond the plate. Thus, he had to go up the steps to kindle the Menorah.
Another explanation is that the lights of the Menorah represent the Jewish soul - Neshama, which is compared to a candle. Just as the flame of the candle draws upward, so too, the Neshama is drawn "upward" to be connected with G-d, its creator.
Aaron's mission was to "uplift" the Jewish souls so that it will strive to connect to G-d, just as the flame of the candle continuously strives to go upward.
"Be of the disciples of Aaron," says Hillel the Elder in Pirkei Avot. "Love peace, and pursue peace, be one who loves his fellow men and draws them near to the Torah."
The Zohar asks why we do not stay still whenever we study Torah or pray, but rather move to and fro? The Zohar replies, "The Jewish soul is derived from G-d's Holy fire. When it studies Torah or is involved in prayer, the soul is connected to its source and like the fire of a candle that constantly flickers back and forth, the soul, which is G-d's candle, also moves.
The Midrash tells us that the idea of lighting the menorah in the Temple surprised the Jewish people. They said, "Is there any darkness before G-d that He needs our light?"
G-d replied, "It is not for My benefit that I command you to kindle the light in the Temple. It is for your merit." The Menorah in the Holy Temple brought forth spiritual and holy light to the Jewish nation and to the entire world.
Before the days of electricity, Russia's main streets were lit by kerosene lamps. Each night, a city employee would make the rounds and light these lamps to illuminate the street.
"The function of a Jew is to be a lamp-lighter," said Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch. "It is not enough to feel spiritually enlightened and warmed by the light of ones soul, one must also use their spiritual fire and make an effort to light up the candle/soul of another Jew by bringing them closer to Torah and Mitzvot."
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL WEEK
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