Parshas Beha’alosecha 2018: Individuality From The Menorah
The menorah was a tall candelabra that stood in the mishkan (Tabernacle) and both temples. It had seven lamps and was remarkably beautiful. It was cleaned and lit everyday by the kohen. The menorah casted light not only inside the temples but its beauty radiated and shined onto the whole world. Our chanukah menorahs today are actually a very small representation of the menorah that once stood.
The builders of the menorah were instructed to hammer the figure out of a single massive block of nondescript gold. As opposed to welding the gold piece together after each part it was formed. The intent was to have the whole menora worked out from the central shaft and base/foundation and then branch out from there.
Interestingly enough, the builders struggled and couldn't form the menorah as G-d had instructed and when consulting with Moshe, he too, had difficulty. Hashem had to show him through divine imagery of what He intended.
Brilliantly, the design and construction of the menorah was meant to serve as a design for our own lives.
What’s the first thing you notice about the menorah (without it lit)? The branches -not the base. The main part of the menorah are its branches as they take up a large portion of its physical nuances and are the most attractive.
The menorah began as a solid block of gold that was hammered out into a base and from there it branched out. So too our inner motives and drives in life towards action should be coming from the center-most foundation of ourselves. We should not be fixated on the pretty branches that may influence us wrongly. In other words, when difficulties arise (as they often do) our society has a way of expecting conformity to what appears proper or “politically correct” but may not align with Hashem’s expectation of us. For example, when somebody spoke disparagingly of another and an outsider heard and stepped in to stop to forbidden talk. Our society would tell him “not to be so judgemental”. Yet the Torah commands us to give rebuke and put an end to lashon hara (gossip).
Our actions in life should not be persuaded by the beliefs of society that defines its own morality. As opposed to living by Hashem’s morality (the Torah).
Let's take a look at the menorah, from one bland solid block of gold we got the very beautiful and elaborate candelabra that shined so brightly into the world.
We need to be steadfast in our hashkafa (religious approach or principles) and never be led astray from Hashem. If we can keep this in mind our actions will shine brightly not just in our own lives but onto the world as well. Just like the menorah did.
In the merit of our efforts may we see the menorah once again shine in the beis hamikdash! -Amen!
Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!
Maverick V. Peters