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Let The Light In....And Out

This week’s Torah portion, Beha'alotcha starts with Moses’ command to Aharon to light the Menorah (Candelabrum) and Aharon's fulfillment of the command:

G-d spoke to Moshe, saying: "Speak to Aharon and say to him, 'When you kindle the lamps, the seven lamps shall illuminate towards the body of the Menorah.”

Why does this command appear here? What is the connection between the lighting of the menorah by Aharon and the events of the narrative of the book of Numbers? The command to light the Menorah has already appeared twice in the Torah: in Exodus and in Leviticus. Why is the Torah now repeating it for a third time?

The tabernacle was built by Moses. This may lead to the impression that the people of Israel have no portion in it. The commandment concerning the oil is meant to counter this perception: B'nei Yisrael's part in the tabernacle is their regular contribution of oil for lighting. Moses building it is a one-time event. The Jewish people participate in a way that is ongoing by regularly bringing oil.

The lighting of the menorah fits well in the book of Numbers.

In our Parsha, Aharon is charged with lighting the menorah as a representative of the nation, but the people are also involved and have a role -- not just their leaders.

It says in Midrash Tanchuma, "Say to Israel, "It is not because I need your light that I tell you to light the lamp, but rather for your own merit…”

According to Rabbanit Sharon Rimon, When a person builds a house, he makes windows in the house, since he wants the light to enter. So he makes the windows narrow on the outside, and wide on the inside. Why? In order that the light will enter from outside and illuminate inside. But when Solomon built the Temple, he did not make the windows like this. Rather, he made them narrow on the inside and wide on the outside, in order that the light would emanate from the Temple and illuminate outwards. As it is written in the book of Kings (Sefer Melachim Chapter 6), "And for the House he made windows that were wide" on the outside "and narrow" on the inside – to show that G-d is light, and He has no need for your light.

The Temple is built so that light will emerge from the inside and illuminate outwards.

The Torah chooses to emphasize the nation's share in the lighting. Why?

Without the people of Israel lighting the Menorah, the light of the Temple will not be disseminated beyond the Temple.

Am Yisrael are partners in kindling the light of the Sanctuary and spreading it outward.

How can each of us spread light around us? How can we connect to our own light?

We’re going to do a short visualization practice

Take a moment to get comfortable and sit in a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, let the tension start to leave your body. Or you can leave your eyes open and focus on a spot in front of you.

Breathe naturally, not controlling the breath in any way.

Do a short scan of your body, noting how your body feels.

Focus on the areas where tension is stored, and imagine releasing the tension with each exhale. Feel your body becoming more relaxed..... letting go of stress.

After the next exhale imagine light flowing from you – outside of you.

What does that feel like?

Who would you like your light to touch? Take a moment and imagine light flowing from you and reaching this person…..

Now imagine this light coming back to you and passing through you.

You can radiate this light and also receive it and take it in.

How does it feel to bask in this light? Can you feel warmth?

Take a few more moments.

Feel the fullness and warmth of this light and make an intention to take some of it with you as you finish this practice.

Remember that you can access and imagine this light again, anytime you need to.

Listen to this on Insight Timer:


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