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This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells us Hashem’s specific commands to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle and how we must construct it. Similarly, it tells us of the construction of the vessels which were to be used in the Tabernacle as part of the daily service which was performed there.
Among these vessels was the Menorah. It was to stand within the Mishkan and was lit every day. The Torah tells us that, “you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The Menorah shall be made of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall be (one piece) with it.”
Why does the Torah use the passive voice (“the Menorah shall be made”), rather than the active voice (“you shall make the Menorah”)? As usual, Rashi explains this to us. He cites the words from our verse “the Menorah shall be made,” and explains as follows. “(It shall be made) by itself. Since Moshe found forming the Menorah difficult, Hashem told him to “Cast the talent (about sixty-four pounds) of gold into the fire, and it will be made by itself.” Therefore, the Torah does not write that you shall make, but rather “it shall be made.”
However, we need to understand Rashi’s words. G-d’s commands regarding the Tabernacle and its vessels were incredibly intricate. Granted, the Menorah was extremely detailed. Nonetheless, we need to understand what specific detail Moshe found difficult with this particular item. We cannot say that the construction of the Menorah was more difficult than that of other items, which were all extremely detailed.
This can be explained as follows. The Sages tell us that the Menorah served as “testimony to the entire world that Hashem’s presence rests among the Jews.” In other words, the Menorah served to illuminate the world, not just the Mishkan. That was Moshe’s difficulty. He understood the building of the Menorah with all of its many details. However, he could not understand how a physical candelabra could illuminate the spiritual darkness of this world.
Hashem answered his question as follows. Granted, something of this nature cannot be accomplished by a human being. However, throw the piece of gold into the fire, and I will make it into a Menorah. I will give it the ability to bring light to the spiritual darkness.
Everything in Torah provides us with a lesson for all times. May the Menorah within each of us cause the world to shine, and bring Moshiach now!
Have a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 1, Page 174
HAYOM YOM – 29 SHEVAT
THE ALTER REBBE ONCE SAID: “THE COMMENTARY OF RASHI ON THE CHUMASH IS ‘THE WINE OF THE TORAH.’ IT UNLOCKS THE HEART AND REVEALS ONE’S ESSENTIAL LOVE AND FEAR [OF HASHEM]. THE COMMENTARY OF RASHI ON THE GEMORAH UNLOCKS THE MIND AND REVEALS THE ESSENCE OF ONE’S MIND”
. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:31.
. Talmud Shabbos, Page 22, b.