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Parshat Beha’alotecha – The Wick must Burn on its Own

Numbers 8:1-12:16 from 4 June till 10 June

דַּבֵּר֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֵלָ֑יו בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת׃

2 “Speak to Aaron and say to him: ‘The spouts of the Candelabrum’s lamps face its central shaft. When you ascend the stool in front of the Candelabrum in order to kindle the lamps, be sure to place the wicks in these spouts so the seven lamps shine toward the central shaft of the Candelabrum. Also, be sure to hold the fire to the wick until it burns by itself.” ‘

It is Aaron’s job to light the wicks of the Candelabrum. The Light of G-d would thereby shine in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple as an uninterrupted radiance.

The Tabernacle and the Temple are no longer there today. (May the Third Temple become visible in our days). So the Candelabrum cannot be lit in our days.

What can we learn from this verse today, in our lives.

We find in the report of the construction of the Tabernacle the line “the whole construction for the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed” (Exodus 39,32).

This has its parallel in Genesis 2:1: “The heavens and earth had been completed.”[1]

There is a direct link between the Tabernacle and the World as a whole. Just as the Tabernacle was the place where G-d, Hashem, wanted to dwell, the whole world is the place where He wants to dwell.

As there was a Candelabrum to light in the Tabernacle, so there is a candlestick to light in our world.

In Proverbs 20:27, King Solomon says:

נֵ֣ר ה’ נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ כׇּל־חַדְרֵי־בָֽטֶן׃

Man’s soul is the L-rd’s lamp, which searches out all the innermost parts.

Lighting the Lamp means lighting our souls and the souls of others.

But how do you do that?

To light a lamp, you need a holder, a wick and oil.

The holder is our physical body. The oil is G-d’s wisdom, His Torah that He gives to us humans. The wick are physical deeds we do in this world.

If you light a wick, without oil, the wick will burn up quickly. So is it with our actions, if our actions are not nourished by Divine Oil, our actions do not last long.

If we put a wick an oil together, it burns for a very long time. So if we feed our deeds with Divine Oil, with Torah then our deeds will flare into the mitzvot that G-d wants us to do.

Our actions, our deeds in the outside world are like a fire that can be noticed by others.  It is this fire that can ignite others to start delving into G-d, into Torah, into the Seven Noahide Commandments.

Aaron was instructed to light the Lamps for so long until they would start burning by themselves.

We must keep our own fire burning – by feeding on Divine Oil – in order to keep our deeds and actions burning in the world, with those around us. Just until their souls catch fire and stay aflame. Which means we should not be too quick to think that people have got the message. Because people can be very enthusiastic in the beginning, an initial enthusiasm can easily extinguish, we need to keep the fire burning until people can continue on their own. So we should remain near to the person, nurturing the soul’s flame until it becomes a steady and self-reliant glow.[2]

The candelabra consists of seven lamps. Which you can see as a reference to the 7 Noahides Laws.

If the world abides by these 7 Laws, the world will become a habitable place for G-d.

It teaches us that we should let our 7 emotions become a great flame, and thus develop these 7 emotions.

But it also teaches us that each person is different.  In one person, chesed/kindness prevails more, while in another person gevurah/discipline may prevail more, etc. This teaches us that we should learn to address people in a way that suits them.

May we ourselves be like a bright flame and light our surroundings to make the world a dwelling place for G-d.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] Akeidat Yitzchak 4:1
[2] Likutei Sichot, vol 2, pp. 316-317
Kehot Chumash Beha’alotecha
Flames by Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch

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