This week we learn, live and read the Torah portion of Behaaloscha and we say (and study) the second chapter of Pirkei Avos.
The Torah portion begins with the lighting of the Menorah in the Mishkan (later the Mikdash).
Everything in the holy Temple is contained within each Jew. This further underlines the meaning of Hashem dwelling within them - ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם - they shall build for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within THEM - (plural) as we discussed in the portion of Terumah.
Not only does the Divine Presence dwell within every Jew, but within every Jew are contained all the parts of the Temple.
When you kindle the lamps (our Parsha 8:2) of the Candelabrum spiritually means igniting our souls and the souls of others.
The Chayenu (5776 pg 144) makes reference to what King Solomon says: The lamp of G-d is the soul of man (Proverbs 20:27).
Just as there are seven lights in the Menorah, so too are there seven general categories of souls, reflecting seven different personalities, based on the seven attributes (חסד - kindness, גבורה - severity etc).
Although ultimately, every person has their particular mission, based on the nature of one's soul, there is an intrinsic value beyond our mission. This binds us as one.
We are all part of one Menorah. Even though the Menorah has seven lamps, representing seven types of personalities and paths in service of Hashem, the lamps in general, as part of the Menorah, represent a level that focuses how we are all one.
This concept of being part of a greater whole, and still maintaining individuality is a powerful message in getting along with all people, even if we think and act different.
Torah wants everyone to use their own individual gifts and talents in one's service to Hashem.
At the same time, Torah expects that these individual and unique qualities are part of a greater whole, as we unite as one in our service to Hashem and light up the souls of our personal Menorahs in our individual Holy Temples and the personal Menorahs in the individual Holy Temples of our fellow man.
In 5742, the Rebbe gave a fascinating insight on the 9th Mishnah of our Perek (2) this week.
When discussing the five students of Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai, the Rebbe, after pointing out commentary such as the Tosefot Yom Tov, who, along with others agree that Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai had many many more than five students, and that these were his MAIN students etc, offers the following:
The Sifre (Piskah 357 - see also Talmud Rosh Hashanah 31b re Rabbi Akiva who as well lived until 120 and Shaar HaGilgulim chapter 36 - as did Hillel the Elder - הלל הזקן - the Rebbe of Reb Yochanon ben Zakkai who also lived until 120- Sefer HaKuzri, Maamor Shlishi, Os 65) - equates Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai to Moshe Rabbeinu in many ways:
Both lived till 120. The 120 years of each of them, was broken into three eras of forty years.
Moshe was in Mitzrayim for forty years, was in Midian for forty years, and led the Jewish people for forty years.
Reb Yochanon was occupied in business for forty years, studied Torah for forty years and taught Torah for forty years.
His five main students, represent five categories of students, personifying the Five Books of Moshe - the Torah.
Reb Eliezer ben Horkenos was called Reb Eliezer HaGadol - the great one - (Kuntres "Sheim Ha'Echad Eliezer" - introduction to Pirkei D'Reb Eliezer).
This is similar to the book of Bereishith, concerning which our sages (Talmud Berachot 58a) say: הגדולה - the greatness - זו מעשה בראשית - this is the act of Bereishith.
Reb Yehoshua ben Chananiah - represents the book of Shemos. Our Mishnah says about him - אשרי יולדתו - fortunate is the one who gave birth to him, and Shemot speaks of the birth of the Jewish people at the Exodus from Egypt (Ezekiel 16:4).
Reb Yossi HaKohen, is connected to Vayikrah, which is called Toras Cohanim (Talmud Kiddushin 33:1, and there in Rashi).
Reb Shimon ben Netanel, represents the Sefer Bamidbar - the book of Numbers. He feared sin - not the punishment for a sin, but the חסרון - what lacks in a person due to sin. Withholding from sin -חטא = חסרון, is accomplished by always counting, adding up, similar to a person who always counts his money to see that nothing is lacking. So too, in the service of man, to be assured that his days are filled with Torah and Mitzvot, he is busy counting his days etc, corresponding to the Book of Numbers.
- Reb Elazar Ben Arach, represents Devarim. He was an ever increasing wellspring - כמעיין המתגבר-(רע?ב - שמוסיף פלפול וסברות מדעתו)
who added Pilpul and logical analysis from his own knowledge - as Moshe who said Devarim -
"אמרה מפי עצמו - at his own initiative " (Talmud Megillah 31b).
Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus
THE MOSHIACH WATCH: Light and day represents the time of the Redemption.
Darkness and night represent the time of Exile.
Illuminating the lamps of the Menorah, in a deeper sense, represents the era of perpetual light that will be upon us with the revelation of Moshiach.
At that time - ולילה כיום יאיר - (Tehillim 139:12) the night will be illuminated like the day.
So too, Torah (the five books of Moshe) light up the world. תורה אור. The light of Torah, that has illuminated the world for thousands of years, and specifically the light of the Torah of Chassidus, that has illuminated the world for hundreds of years, is transforming our world from darkness into light.