Torah for this Hour | June 20, 2024

In Parashat Beha‘alotekha, the seven-branched menorah is lit for the first time. Note the directions: “When you raise up the lamps, toward the front of the lampstand let the seven lamps give light.” Only when we lift up the lamps, which are the receptacles of the light, will “the seven lamps give light.”

The menorah eventually fell into Roman hands and disappeared. It was permanently memorialized on Titus’s victory arch — the arch of destruction and exile of the people Israel.

But the menorah’s light never really disappeared, and was certainly never extinguished. The menorah is the eternal light, the ner tamid, of the Jewish people. It is just waiting patiently for the Jewish people to raise it up on high once again, as it has done in modern times.

We need to keep this principle in mind in dark and difficult times like the present. When we know how to lift up the lamps, the menorah will send forth light with great intensity.

It is difficult, but (as the popular Hanukkah song by Ze’ev puts it), “We [are the ones who] carry torches through the dark nights.”