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Monday, Sivan 14, 5782 / June 13, 2022


This week’s Parsha is Beha'alotcha.  The Parsha begins with G-d's instructions to Aaron concerning the lighting of the Menorah in the Tabernacle, which had seven lights; one in the center and three on each side.


G-d commands Aaron, "When you kindle the lights, toward the center of the Menorah shall the seven lights shine."  The three wicks on each side of the Menorah are to be pointing toward the center.


Q.   Why did the lights on either side of the menorah have to be pointed toward the center?


A.   Our sages explain that the three lights on the right represent those who are totally committed to spirituality and Torah study.  The lights on the left represent people who spend most of their time in worldly matters.  By pointing the lights toward the center, the Torah teaches us, that no matter whether a Jew is on the left or on the right of the Menorah, the most important thing is that their heart be focused toward the light of G-d – which is represented by the center light 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."


The sages discuss the reason for this. Some say that Aaron had to go up several steps in order to light the Menorah. Thus, Aaron had to be elevated to light the Menorah.


The Menorah was not high, so Aaron could have cleaned and kindled the Menorah standing on the ground. However, Aaron had a gold plate on his forehead with G-d's name engraved on it.  Therefore, he was not permitted to lift his hands over that gold-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 - the 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 "elevate" the Jewish souls so that they 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 in Pirkei Avot.  "Love peace, pursue peace, be one who loves his fellow men and draws them closer to the Torah."


The Midrash tells us that the lights of the Menorah in the Holy Temple were not for G-d’s benefit, but for the benefit of the people.  The Menorah in the Holy Temple brought forth spiritual and holy light to the Jewish nation and to the entire world.


"The function of a Jew is to be a lamp-lighter," said Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch.  Like G-d commanded Aaron, it is not enough to feel spiritually enlightened ourselves. One should also light up the candles/souls of others by bringing them closer to Torah and Mitzvot.