“Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the seven lamps, they are to light the area in front of the lampstand [menorah].’” (Numbers 8:1–2)
Last week, in Parasha Naso, the Levite men between the ages of 30 and 50 were counted and assigned tasks for transporting the Tabernacle.
This week, in Parasha Behaalotecha, we read that Aaron set the lights of the Menorah (which was hammered from a single piece of gold according to the pattern that God showed Moses) so that the area in front of the Menorah was lit.
Only Aaron and his sons, the Cohanim (priests), were entrusted with the important duty of lighting the menorah.
The rabbis say that Moses’ brother Aaron was chosen because of his reliability in performing a menial task day after day.
There is a lesson in that for us.
It’s easy to feel enthusiastic about a task that is new and fresh, but we need to master the ability to sustain our enthusiasm, even once the novelty wears off.
God honors this kind of reliability.
Even the most mundane of our daily chores can be a joy when we do them “unto the Lord.”
God is not only interested in what we consider our spiritual activities—reading our Bible, attending congregational services, praying, or sharing our faith.
Adonai enjoys being part of every detail of our lives, whether we are working, playing, resting, eating, or just doing our chores—everything from feeding our pets to folding the laundry.
He also enjoys being part of our interaction with others.
Prominent Jewish Symbol: The Menorah
“I see a solid gold lampstand [menorah] with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights.” (Zechariah 4:2)
The Menorah is probably Judaism’s best known symbol.
It is especially prominent during the season of Chanukah, when the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is celebrated.
In fact, lighting the Menorah was one of the very first tasks that the Maccabees (Jewish freedom fighters) accomplished when they reclaimed the Holy Temple from Antiochus IV, a vainglorious Syrian king who sought to entirely denationalize the Jewish People. (Jewish Encyclopedia)
For three years, the Temple had been desecrated by Antiochus who erected an altar to Zeus in it and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar.
That is one of the reasons why the Menorah has come to symbolize spiritual victory that is gained “not by might, nor by power” (Zechariah 4:6), but by God’s Spirit, as is clearly emphasized by today’s Haftarah (prophetic portion) in Zechariah.
Although we need to be strong and overcome all the obstacles that are preventing us from fulfilling our destiny in Messiah, the Apostle Paul (Rabbi Shaul) said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Why? Because we are to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10) and not strong in ourselves and our own power.
It’s also good to remember that darkness is not driven out by force, but by light. Just as the Menorah’s seven lamps brought light to the Temple, Yeshua brings light to our hearts, minds and lives.
His light dispels the darkness, and we are to bring His light to the world (Matthew 5:14; see also John 12:36).
The Meaning of the Menorah
“Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.” (Revelation 4:5)
The seven branches of the Menorah can be understood to represent the spiritual attributes described in the Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah 11:
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2)
On the Temple’s seven-branched Menorah, the Spirit of the Lord can be interpreted as being the center light, with the other six branches representing the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.