Torah Portion

Beha’alotcha 5779

beha“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light.” (Chapter 8, Verses 1-2)

Rebbe Noson explains that the light of the Menorah represents the light of the Tsaddik, who reveals the light of the Torah to each person on their level.  It’s explained that the light of the pure candles of the Menorah represent the light of the Torah, as it says in Proverbs, “For a commandment is a lamp and the Torah is light;” (Chapter 6, Verse 23).  The Torah contains within it all of the levels of prophecy, like it says about Moshe’s prophecy: “Face to face did Hashem speak with you on the mountain” (Devarim, Chapter 5, Verse 4); Hashem’s speech represents prophecy.  Prophecy, which is a clear understanding and vision of the word of God, is the main vessel for a person to purify their power of imagination and their perception.  By way of this a person will merit complete faith, which is faith in the renewal of the world and a person’s ability to be renewed.  This is why the verse above comes right after the verse at the end of Parshat Naso, “When Moshe arrived at the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the Voice speaking to him…” (Chapter 7, Verse 89), which talks about Moshe’s receiving prophecy from Hashem.  This teaches us that the main aspect of the mitzvah of lighting the candles of the Menorah was in order to reveal the light of the Tsaddik, which is the light of prophecy to all of the world, in order to illuminate the light of faith in the world. (Likutei Halachot, Laws of Honoring a Rabbi, 3rd teaching)

Rebbe Noson explains further in another teaching that Aharon, who was also a great teacher and Tsaddik, was commanded in this Parsha to light the candles of the Menorah; meaning that he should bring the souls of the Jewish people closer to Hashem by revealing to them the light of the true Tsaddik, Moshe.  Moshe is the aspect of the face of the Menorah, because he encompassed all of the seventy ways in which the Torah can be interpreted.  Therefore he was able to shine the light of the Torah to all of the souls of the Jewish people, who represent the seven candles of the Menorah.  (Likutei Halachot, Laws of a Meal, 5th teaching)

The tsaddik lights our candle, our soul.  He has the power to reveal the Torah to every different type of Jewish soul and help them come closer to Hashem.  How can we be a part of this, how can we also shine the light of our candle to other people?

This week I attended the end of the year dinner at the yeshiva where I have taught the past two years, Ashreinu.  I wasn’t able to attend last year’s dinner so it was special for me to hear the students and the other teachers share their feelings of gratitude, their perspectives and their experiences about the year.  Pretty much every one of the students who spoke shared how their lives had changed during the year in some way.  I was asked to say a few words as well.  After thanking the Rabbis who run the yeshiva as well as the night seder program, I spoke about how amazing it was for me to able to teach and be a part of the program.  Many times in my experience teaching at Ashreinu I have left at the end of evening feeling amazed and excited to be able to teach and to connect to the students.  I mentioned (as I did last week in the parsha article) that I’ve been blessed with many wonderful teachers and mentors during my journey to returning to the Torah, and now Hashem has blessed me with an opportunity to teach as well.  I then shared some of the special qualities about my student this year and how he had grown.

I learned once in the counseling program which I used to learn at, Shakuf, that a lot of the healing which a person needs is just someone who looks at them with love, acceptance and the goodwill to help them however they can. A lot of times it’s not the words we say, but the way we look at someone and relate to them.  When you give your love and time to another person in a simple way, they will grow and shine.  This is part of the light of the Torah I believe.  The Tsaddikim teach us to look at others in this way, because every Jew’s soul is one with the Torah.  When we follow the great Tsaddikim, when we learn their teachings and advice, the light of the Torah begins to shine through us too.  Just as they have the power to shine the light of the Torah to all of the Jewish people, we too can shine light to others in our own way.  When you give your love and time to someone else, they will grow and begin to shine their light!

(The image is courteous of Chabad.org)

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