By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman
This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM
Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM
The Menorah and the Shulchan(Showbread Table) stood opposite each other in the outer chamber of the Mishkan(Tabernacle), and later in the Bais Hamikdosh (Temple) inJerusalem; the menorah standing against the southern wall, and the Table against the northern wall.
The Menorah was kindled every afternoon and remained lit throughout the night. The lights of the menorah symbolize the illumination provided by Torahand Mitzvot; "For a mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light." The spiritual illumination supplied by studying Torah and observingG-d's commandments light up the darkest and coldest nights. AsIsaiah said, "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth... and the L-rd shall shine upon you."
Both our spiritual and physical needs are provided by G-d, and both come to us via the Temple.Every Shabbat, twelve loaves of bread were placed on the Table, where they remained until the following Shabbat. Bread is the staff of life, and a metaphor for all forms of nourishment. Thus the Table symbolizes all our material needs.
The Temple serves as the portal to Heaven. As Jacob said regarding the Temple Mount: "This is none other than the house of G-d, and this is the gate of Heaven." This gateway serves a dual purpose: it is the path through which our prayers ascend to Heaven, and it is the conduit through which we receive all beneficence from Above. Both our spiritual and physical needs are provided by G-d, and both come to us via the Temple -- the spiritual needs are channeled through the Menorah, and material largess through the Table.
The Biblical commentator RabbiShmuel ben Meir (Rashbam) (grandson of Rashi 1085-1174); explains that the Menorah’spractical purpose was to provide light for the Table. After all, the royal table needs to be illuminated by a royal candelabrum!
The message is quite clear. Our Torah and Mitzvot must "illuminate" all our physical pursuits. We cannot relegate the spiritual to the synagogue or to the hour or two of the day which we dedicate to Torah study, prayer and good deeds. Our connection with G-d must be apparent even while involved in a business meeting, or when sitting down to eat.
A home whose "Table" is illuminated by its " Menorah " is truly worthy of being a sanctuary wherein G-d willingly dwells.
(excerpts from chabad.org - Rabbi Naftali Silberberg)
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!
If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at firstname.lastname@example.org