Pearls of Rashi – Beha’aloscho II

This week we read the Torah portion of Beha’aloscho. It starts off by telling us of the commandment of lighting the Menorah. This is followed by telling us of the construction of the Menorah. “This was the form of the Menorah. From its base to its flower it was hammered work of gold. According to the form that Hashem showed Moshe, so did he construct the Menorah[1].” Rashi cites the words “so did he construct the Menorah,” and comments as follows. “The one who made it (meaning Betzalel). The Aggadic Midrash states that it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed be He.”

Many ask why the Torah “changes gears” so suddenly[2]. It begins discussing the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah. Then it suddenly discusses its construction. This is especially difficult to understand because the Torah already discussed the building of the Menorah at great length[3]. What need was there to repeat it here?

The explanation according to Peshat may be as follows. The Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was to serve (in part) as a consolation to Aharon. Aharon was upset that the leader of each tribe was able to bring sacrifices in order to dedicate the Altar in the newly constructed Mishkan – Tabernacle. Whereas he did not share a part in their dedication. Rashi wrote at the beginning of this Torah portion that Hashem told him not to feel bad[4]. “When Aharon saw the dedications of the tribal leaders, he felt troubled over not joining them in this dedication; neither he nor his tribe. G-d said to him, ‘By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps.’”

We need to understand why lighting the Menorah was so much greater than dedicating the altar. In order to explain this, the Torah digresses and repeats, albeit in short, the construction of the Menorah. It tells us that from among all of the vessels in the Mishkan, this was constructed “according to the form that Hashem showed Moshe!” Moreover, according to the Midrash it was constructed by Hashem Himself!

Why was the Menorah distinguished in this manner? Rashi already answered that question[5]. He wrote that “the western lamp was a testimony to all the creatures on earth that the Shechinah rested upon the Jews.” Just as the Menorah revealed the Shechinah, so too its construction had to come about through a special revelation of the Shechinah.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

 Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 38, Page 33-39

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 8:4.

[2]. See the Abarbenel, the Alshich, the Ohr Hachaim and others.

[3]. Parshas Terumah, Beginning with Shemos 25:31.

[4]. See Rashi to our Parshah, Bamidbar 8:2.

[5]. Parshas Emor, Vayikroh 24:3.

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