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B’ha’alotcha: Ascending Love

Speak to Aaron and you shall say to him, When you light the candles before the menorah, the seven candles shall give light…And this is the work of the menorah, a solid piece of gold until it base, until its flower, it is one solid piece… The seven branches of the menorah allude to the different types of souls of Israel. Aaron the Priest lights them all. Aaron “loves peace and pursues peace, loves people and brings them close to Torah.” In the same manner, he lights the flame of love in the hearts of all Israel, “until the flame ascends by itself”.

What is love? To where do the flames ascend? On a simple level, they ascend upward, with love of God, as is written, “And you shall love Havayah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your being.” (The numerical value of בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך  with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your being equals Shalhevet/flame!).

The candles face each other: “Opposite the face of the menorah, shall the seven candles illuminate.” The three branches to the east face west and the three branches to the west face east. In other words, this forms one great flame of love of Israel. All shine their faces toward each other.

This is also the inner meaning of the emphasis on the fact that the menorah is made of one solid piece of gold – all of Israel is one piece of solid gold. “…until its base, until its flower– both the lofty souls of the masters of Torah and service of God who float (pore’ach, cognate to perach, flower) on high and the lowly souls that are likened to legs (the word for “base” in this verse, yarcha, also means ‘thigh’). The phrase עד ירכה עד פרחה/ until it base, until its flower equals 26 (God’s Name, Havayah) squared. The average value of each word in the phrase equals ehad/one or ahavah/love, squared.

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

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