by Leah Larson
In this week's parsha, Parshat B'haalotcha Hashem commands Aharon about how he should light the menorah in the Mishkan. But Hashem uses an interesting word for to light 'b'haalotcha' which really means 'when you raise up'. Why is lighting something raising it up? Rashi explains that Aharon had to make sure the wick of the lamp caught fire until the flame raised up on its own. This teaches us an important lesson about ourselves and our Jewish soul. Every Jew has a soul inside them that is compared to a flame. No matter what way you turn a candle, the flame always reaches higher. Our souls are always reaching higher and higher, wanting to come closer to Hashem.
But sometimes we don't listen to our souls. In fact, sometimes we ignore our souls so much that the flame shrinks to just a tiny spark. But it is still always there inside us, waiting to be ignited. We all have the potential to be a shining flame. That's what a lamp is - the lamp on its own doesn't give off light, but it has the potential for light. Aaron's job was to carefully and patiently nurture the flames until they each became a glowing fire. Every one of us has to patiently and lovingly help our friends and fellow Jews ignite that spark within them. Sometimes it takes a long time, but we all have the potential to be flames.
Once our inner spark is ignited then each of us can shine on our own, and light up the world for more people.
The Menorah is symbolic of the Jewish people. Even though it had seven branches, representing the fact that there are different paths to serve Hashem, it was made out of one solid block of gold. This shows that even though we have difference, all Jews are united as one.
May we all have the strength to keep reaching higher and lighting up the world for others until the day Moshiach comes!