ישיבת כרם ביבנה

Haftorah: A Tale of Two Menorahs

הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר

One of the most wonderful visions of the prophet Zechariah is the vision of the menorah, the topic of this week's Haftorah. Zechariah sees, "Behold -- there is a menorah made entirely of gold with its bowl on its top; its seven lamps are upon it, and there are seven ducts for [each of] the lamps on its top." (Zechariah 4:2) [Rashi explains that for each lamp there were seven thin ducts for the oil to flow from the bowl to the lamps.] To the right and the left of the bowl there is an olive tree. (4:3)

In the continuation of the prophecy (4:12 -- this section is not in the Haftorah, which concludes in v. 7), it turns out that the two "olive trees" are the two "clusters of olives" (4:12) -- olive trees full like clusters; next to them are the "two golden presses"; "which are pouring gold from themselves" -- the pure, golden oil from the olives into the bowl.

The difference between Zechariah's menorah and the menorah of the Mishkan, and the manner of lighting it described in the beginning of the parsha, is very apparent. The difficulty involved with the menorah of the Mishkan is emphasized, and man's input is very evident. Moshe even had difficulty comprehending its shape: "The menorah shall be made -- since Moshe had difficulty with it" (Shemot 25:31 and Rashi there), something unparalleled in the rest of the construction of the Mishkan. The preparation of the oil is also the only preliminary work spelled out in the Torah: "pure, pressed olive oil for illumination -- without sediment, as we learned in Menachot, 'He would pick [the ripe ones] from the top of the olive tree' ... he would crush it with a mortar and would not grind it with a mill." (Shemot 26:20 and Rashi there) Our parsha also begins: "When you light up the menorah -- from this we derive that there was a step in front of the menorah upon which the kohen stands." (Bamidbar 8:2 and Rashi there) Comprehending the menorah, preparing the oil, and lighting the menorah seem to require a special effort on the part of man. There is a need for a special uplifting in order for the flame to then rise of its own accord. (Rashi there)

In the menorah of Zechariah the flame rises of its own accord regardless. Everything is close, everything is direct, everything is automatic -- untouched by human hands. The olives are above the menorah; the oil is pressed automatically and pours into the bowl; from the bowl it flows directly through the seven ducts into the seven lamps. Rashi emphasizes in his commentary, "The olives are crushed on their own ... and the oil falls into the ducts ... and you will not needs man's help." This is the meaning of the angel's words: "Not through army and not through strength, but through My spirit, said Hashem, Master of Legions" (4:6), for in the ultimate redemption the flame will indeed rise on its own even without Bnei Yisrael's effort and involvement.

It is possible that Rashi hints to this idea in explaining an additional detail of Zechariah's prophecy. Rashi comments on the seven ducts for the each of the seven lamps, "The ducts of the lamps were forty-nine, hinting to the light, that in the future the light of the sun will be seven times [as bright as] the light of the seven days [of Creation], forty-nine times the light of the first day." Rashi is probably alluding here to the concealed light with which the world was created: "G-d saw that the light was good -- He saw that it was not befitting that the wicked should use it, and He set it aside for the righteous in the future." (Bereishit 1:4 and Rashi there)

This wondrous light is also hinted to in the beginning of our parsha -- "Aharon did so." It is quoted from the Zohar that throughout the story of the Creation it says, "and it was so," corresponding to each statement of G-d. (Even on the third day, when the land did not do exactly as G-d commanded, it still says, "and it was so.") Only regarding the statement, "Let there be light," does it not say, "and it was so," but rather, "and there was light." This deviation is understandable, since the original light of, "Let there be light" was concealed, and a different light is what remained. This omission was made up through, "Aharon did so" -- when the concealed light descended from Heaven and lit the menorah.

May it be G-d's will that we should merit that light, and those "two anointed men" who will shine like the light of the seven days of creation, and then we will know, indeed, that, "Not through army and not through strength, but through My spirit, said Hashem, Master of Legions."

 

 

קוד השיעור: 3787

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