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Light a Candle

By: Mrs. Rena Coren

Beha'alotcha et haneirot” (8:2) Rashi asks, why does the parsha of the menorah comes right after the parsha of the nesi'im and the karbanot they brought for the dedication of the mishkan? He answers  that when Aharon Hakohen saw the part that the nesi'im had in the dedication of the mishkan, “chalsha da'ato”- he was pained that he was not able to be also have a part in the dedication, not him and not his shevet, Levi. Hashem then says to him, your part will be greater than theirs, for you will light and set up the candles of the menorah.

The Ramban questions; why didn't Hashem comfort Aharon with the fact that he would bring the incense offerings, or that he would do the avodah of Yom Kippur and enter into the Kodesh Kedoshim? Why did Hashem specifically choose to pacify Aharon by saying that he would be zocheh to light the menorah?

Rav Zilberstein shlit”a, in his sefer “Aleinu L'shabeiach” brings a beautiful answer to the Ramban's question. All the acts of service that Aharon haKohen would be zocheh to perform in the Mishkan are special, but the uniqueness of lighting the menorah is that this avodah stems from hakarat hatov that is intrinsic to our relationship with Hashem.

The midrash brings a mashal to depict this concept- a wise person and a blind person were on a journey together and along the way the wise man would lead the blind man and help him to overcome obstacles on the path. When they finally arrived at their destination, the wise man asked the blind man to light a candle for him. The blind man was surprised at the seemingly odd request, but the wise man explained ,”I asked you to do so, so that you would feel good that in some way you paid me back for all that I have done for you”. So too Hashem says to Bnei Yisrael, “provide light for me (by lighting the menorah), the way I have shone my light upon you.” Therefore, the avodah of the menorah is greater than all the korbanot and all other avodot.

In a practical sense for ourselves, we are constantly surrounded by the myriads of small miracles that Hashem does for us every day. The greatest “gift” we can give Hashem in return is appreciating all that is done for us, through expressing thanks, and through living our lives in a way that is aligned with Hashem's ratzon. When we are able to do this, we are in essence reflecting back the light that Hashem shines upon us. 

Shabbat Shalom






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