Friday, June 01, 2007

Parshas Behaaloscha 5767

To see last year's Dvar Torah, CLICK HERE.

By: JZ Spier

This week's parsha begins with Hashem commanding Moshe to instruct Aaron about lighting the Menorah. Right after these instructions the Torah informs us about the construction of the Menorah, and Chazal teach us how Moshe found it difficult to understand the building and the construction of the Menorah. We are all familiar with the question of Rashi in the beginning of the Parsha; Rashi asks what is the reason for the juxtaposition of the Menorah and the contributions of the Nissiim from last weeks Parsha? Rashi answers that when Aaron saw the dedications of the Nisiim, he felt bad because he and his tribe weren't involved in those contributions. To make Aaron feel better, Hashem told him that he would be the one to light the Menorah. This explains the juxtaposition between the topics of the Nisiim and the Menorah.

Rabbi Rudinsky in his Sefer Mishkan Bitzalel is bothered by the following three questions.
A) What was Aaron so upset about? He was the top leader of the top tribe, he was involved in Avodas HaKodesh on the highest of levels. How is it conceivable that Aaron was unhappy and not satisfied with his great role?
B) Why did Hashem make Aaron feel better by giving him Hadlakas HaMenorah? What is so special about lighting those candles?
C) After the instructions on how to light, why does the Torah repeat how to build it and the fact that Moshe had trouble understanding its structure? We were told this already back in the Parshiyos in Shemos that described the building of the Mishkan? Why repeat it here?

Rabbi Rudinsky answers beautifully based on a Gemara in Brachos (63:) that says "if one humiliates himself over the Torah, in the end he will rise to great heights". He explains that one should constanly be humiliating and humbling him/herself by the fact that no matter where one is holding, there's always a LONG way to go. The Gemara is teaching us that the most important part in Kinyan HaTorah is to be a Mivakeish; to constantly search for more, for greater understandings, for more knowledge, and for more ways to serve Hashem. The pasuk tells us "If you search for Hashem like you search for silver coins, then you will have found Yiras Hashem". The only way to make a kinyan on the Torah is to run after it, to never be satisfied with what you have already, but to constantly want more and to jump at those chances. He gives a Mashal that when you drop a piece of food into a fish tank, the fish swim up to the top instantly, in such a rush to get that food. The same should be of our desire for Torah, being a Mivakeish, always searching for more venues of Torah and Avodas Hashem. When a person truly desires something and does all he can to achieve it, there is no limit to what a person can accomplish. It all begins with that desire to strive for more.

With this in mind, we can now answer those three questions. As the dedication of the Mishkan came to a close with the donations of the Nisiim, Aaron realized that there was an opportunity of Avodas Hashem that he wasn't taking part in. Its not that Aaron wasn't satisfied with his role; rather he was the ultimate Mivakeish. He saw an opportunity to do something to get closer to Hashem, realized he was missing out, and jumped on the opportunity to get more involved. Aaron had the greatest job in all of Klal Yisrael, but he wanted to grow even more.

The lighting of the candles represents consistency in Avodas Hashem. The whole Avoda in the Beis haMikdash was done during the day except for two things that were done during the night; the burning of the fats and Hadlakas HeMenorah. The lighting of the Menorah represents that fact that the Kohanim spent all day working the Avoda, but because of the Menorah, their service of Hashem existed every second of the day, without even a small hefsek. Since Aaron showed Hashem that he was the ultimate Mivakeish, that he couldn't even miss one opportunity to serve Hashem and that he would do anything to jump on those chances, Hashem gave him an incredibly appropriate job in lighting the Menorah, because the Menorah also represents that constant desire and will to continuous service of Hashem and the determination to not let any of those chances pass.

Finally, this answers the third question as well. The Menorah also symbolizes the Torah; "Ki Ner Mitzvah ViTorah Ohr". Moshe understood the physical structure of the Menorah; but when the Torah tells us he couldn't understand the Menorah it means that his understanding of the Torah wasn't complete. As we've said, it is not enough to just have a basic understanding. There is no end to what a person can accomplish. We always have to strive for more, and this is exactly what Moshe was doing. He wasn't satisfied with his understanding, but rather was Mivakeish for more and for more. It now makes perfect sense why the Torah repeats this here, because right after we learn how Aaron was a great Mivakeish, the Torah reminds us that Moshe was on this high level as well.

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