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A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

Parashat Behaalotecha

Dear Friend,
 
This week's parasha, Parashat Behaalotecha, opens with the Almighty instructing Moshe Rabbeinu to relate the following message to his brother:  "Speak to Aaron, and tell him: when you light (literally: "lift up") the lights, towards the center of the menorah shall the seven lights shine."
Aharon HaKohen, in his role as a priest serving in the Mishkan, is informed that not only should flames be kindled in the Tabernacle on a daily basis, but that these flames should be in the form of seven lights exactly, and that they should specifically be in a menorah, as well.
This connection, between Aaaron and his priestly descendents on the one hand, and the sanctuary's menorah on the other, was not limited to this verse's specific context: in a much later generation it would be the Hasmonean warriors, as descendents of Aaron, who would play such an integral role in removing the Greek influence from the Beit Hamikdash, and miraculously kindling the Temple's menorah.  These events are the basis for the Hanukkah holiday and the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah in our homes, a practice that continues to be widely observed in our day.
Whether it be the ancient menorah of the Mishkan, the later menorah in the Beit Hamikdash, or our contemporary household Hanukkah menorahs, the light of the menorah continues to shine forth, both as a fulfillment of a mitzvah incumbent upon us to perform, but as a symbol of hope, light, freedom, and redemption as well.  I look forward to exploring this idea further with you when we meet for Shabbat services at 9:30 am this Saturday morning, at Mozaic Senior Living's (4200 Park Ave, Bridgeport) Bennett Hall.
All the best,
 
Rabbi Peretz Robinson