Delray Orthodox Synagogue
DELRAY ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUE
"A Jewel of a Shul"
7319 W. ATLANTIC AVENUE
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA 33446
RABBI MENACHEM JAROSLAWICZ
BERNARD LEIBMAN, PRESIDENT
ROCHELLE RUSH, SISTERHOOD PRESIDENT
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New Torah Dedication
Click on the following link to view the article
on the dedication of our new Torah by Joe
and Judy Kaufer:
This week’s Torah portion, Beha’aloscha, starts with an instruction to Aharon regarding the lighting of the Menorah in the Mishkan.
“Beha’aloscha es hanairos el mul pnei ha’Menorah, ya’eeru shivas hanairos. – [When you will kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah, shall the seven lamps cast light.]”
Rashi comments that the word Beha’aloscha does not contain the usual root word meaning to “kindle,” or to “light.” The actual definition of Be’ha’aloscha is a derivative of the word “Oleh” which means to “raise” or to “raise-up.” Why, asks Rashi, does the Torah choose this word when there are so many words available that actually mean to “light”? Quoting the Gemarah, (Shabbos 21a), Rashi explains the verse to mean: “Ahd she’tehai ha’shalheves oleh may’aylehah, - [Until the flame rises by itself.]”
The usual interpretation of this is as follows. Aharon is being instructed to saturate the wicks of the Menorah to the point that, when the kindling flame will be placed NEAR the wick, without actually touching the wick, the oil will self ignite from the proximity of the heat of the nearby candle.
The obvious question is, “WHY?” What difference does it make if the wick ignites itself or if the kindling flame actually causes the flame to arise?
I would like to suggest an answer based on a thought that I had several years ago.
Of all the vessels in the Mishkan, the Menorah had a unique quality about it -- in that it had to be made from “miksha achas, - [one hammering].” One could NOT make the arms of the Menorah independent of the base and then solder them together. You had to start off with one BIG slab of gold, and hammer away at it, thus forming all of the six arms and their accompanying cups, flowers and any other ornamental designs. Everything had to be hammered out of the one, original block of gold.
Once again I ask, “WHY?” What would be the big deal if the Menorah were the product of assembling several smaller pieces together? Surely, the workmanship was of such quality that you could never tell afterwards if the Menorah was constructed from parts or hammered out of one piece!
I suggest that the Menorah represents the “LIGHT,” the “WISDOM” of the Jewish people. Virgin olive oil comprised of ONLY the very first drops from the olive press was required to ensure that the light was always as PURE as could be, just as the Torah knowledge absorbed by the human mind must also be pure and untainted.
The light of pure Torah knowledge, awareness of G-d and spirituality, is so powerful that its essence can be experienced and felt by anyone who has the proper vessels to process the holiness.
An example of this concept is the fact that our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov observed all of the 613 commandments even though they had not yet been given to the Jewish people. How? By purifying their vessels and being open to absorbing the untainted purity of the Torah, they felt the spirituality in their very essence, in their DNA. They understood the dos and don’ts of the universe that enabled them to have a unique relationship with Hashem even prior to the giving of the physical Torah. This is why they are our forefathers and why we look to emulate their behavior and follow in their example. They got it, and we are supposed to learn from them how to “get it” as well.
If anything, we have it much easier. We have the 613 commandments to help us along, and we do not have to rely solely on the absorption of the Mitzvos on a DNA level.
I think that this is why the Menorah had to be hammered out of ONE PIECE. While it is important to gather as much Torah knowledge as possible -- from all available sources, seforim and teachers -- it is maybe MORE important for a person to figure out what insights and awareness he can hammer out on his own, from the depths of his own intellect, from “miksha achas,” one hammering. Not just assembling pieces from all over but, rather, hammering out the truth from within ones own self.
Of course, in order for this to work your mind must be untainted. You must be open to the Torah’s truths without distortions and preconceived notions.
I believe this to be the very essence of what was taught to Aharon by Hashem through this instruction of how he should light the Menorah.
He is being told to allow the flame to catch fire on its own. When you learn or, even more so, when you teach a student or a child, you must present the information to them in a way that they can grasp and make it their own. It is NOT GOOD to spoon-feed a student. Kindle the flame near them. If they are saturated enough beforehand with the desire to absorb the truth, their flame will ignite on its own from just the proximity of the fiery Torah.
Coming to Minyan whenever you can, learning some Torah during the week whenever you can, even though the Rabbi is away, these are some of the steps needed to allow the warmth of the flame to help ignite you from within.
Have a wonderful Shabbos.
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