16 Sivan 5777 – Behaalotecha

With gratitude to Almighty G-d, Chana Raizel and I will be celebrating our two year anniversary with the Shule this Shabbat! The two years have passed so quickly and so much has happened over this short space in time. We are so grateful and privileged to be a part of our special community and we would love to celebrate with you over Shabbat for a L’chaim and special Kiddush!!

How opportune that the Torah portion this week is Behaalotecha, which speaks about the obligation to kindle the Menorah in the Temple, to bring light into G-d’s holy places. In the absence of the Temple today, our Synagogues serve as G-d’s home and the command to bring light into these holy sites and communities is ever relevant and meaningful.

There are two details concerning light in the Temple that I would like to point out.

1. The construction of the Menorah. The Menorah had to be ‘Miksheh’, ‘beaten out’ of one piece of pure gold. Why? There are a number of reasons. According to one commentator, it is to teach us an important lesson. You see, the Menorah is a metaphor for each one of us. If we wish to become a menorah – a source of light, inspiration, and love to people around us, we must be made of “one piece.” People need to see in us complete commitment and dedication, not half-way, some-of-the-time caring, but all-the-way all of the time! Whether we are at work or in our homes, we must always be united in spirit and endeavour.

2. The windows of the Temple. The windows of the Temple were constructed very different to the windows of our homes today. The windows in our homes are designed to let light inwards and so they are shaped narrower on the outside and wider on the inside. Yet the windows of the Temple were the opposite with the wider opening on the outside to let light out! This was a deliberate act of construction. You see, the entire purpose of G-d’s Temple was to spread light and blessing outwards and to illuminate the entire world.

I end by saying that I pray, with your help, that we are always “Miksheh” united as a community and committed to spreading love and light not only to ourselves and those within our community but also to those beyond our borders as well.

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom and see you in Shul!!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

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