Sedra of the week: Behalothecha

Sedra of the week: Behalothecha

Rabbi Caller looks at the forthcoming week’s portion of the Torah

Having witnessed representatives of all the other tribes bringing their own offerings while his tribe of Levi was not represented, Aaron felt a certain lacking and wondered what their unique contribution to the Jewish People would be.

God consoled him by assigning him the treasured task of kindling the lights of the Menorah, and assured him that this contribution was even more significant than the offerings of the tribes.

What was so special about lighting the Menorah?

The Sforno explains beautifully that the three branches on the Menorah’s right side represent those whose primary involvement is in the spiritual realm.

The three branches on the left represent those who involve themselves in the materialistic realm, in order to aid those involved in purely spiritual matters.

All six wicks pointed inwards towards the main column of the Menorah, which rose straight up towards heaven, signifying the importance of the varied paths being dedicated towards serving God.

As we are taught by Ethics of the Fathers, Aaron was the quintessential pursuer of peace.

A pursuer of peace recognizes that dissension is not necessarily the result of one party being right and the other wrong; rather, it can be the result of different views and perspectives in a given scenario.

Aaron was a master at recognising the uniqueness of the disparate individuals and parts and pulling them together into a cohesive mission heavenward.

While the offerings of each of the tribes represented their unique path in serving God, lighting the Menorah represented the synthesis of all those paths into one heavenly thrust.

Tailor-made for the role, Aaron was chosen to kindle the lights of the Menorah and to kindle the flames of peace and unity in the heart of each and every Jew.

As such, God told Aaron: “Yours is far greater than theirs.”

Rabbi Caller is educational coordinator of the Aish Gesher Program at Yeshivat Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem


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