"When you [Aaron] light up the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah." (Num. 8:2)

Parashat Beha'alotecha opens with the commandment of kindling the Candelabrum of the Tabernacle. ‘Beha'alotecha’ means "When you raise up." Aaron is told to kindle the lamps until the wicks catch flame and burn on their own, and, as we will see, this is an allegory for our purpose on earth: to kindle the flame of Divine consciousness until all of created reality burns on its own with the enthusiasm required to fulfill its Divine purpose. In this sense, kindling the Candelabrum encapsulates the entire purpose of creation—to make the world into G‑d's home

The Divine mission to make the world into G‑d's home applies to all aspects of reality...

The Divine mission to make the world into G‑d's home applies to all aspects of reality—indeed, the only way it can be accomplished is if we transform all aspects of life into facets and elements of our relationship with G‑d. It is not enough to feel close to G‑d or teach others to feel close to G‑d when we or they are explicitly involved in holy acts—learning the Torah and fulfilling G‑d's commandments. Divine consciousness must permeate our mundane pursuits as well.

This attitude toward life can be acquired through practice, by training ourselves or others to overcome the natural tendency of material reality to obscure G‑d's presence in our lives. Divine life then becomes second nature, ultimately as natural as the material outlook was before.

The more profound way of remaking our selves or others, however, is by revealing our innate Divinity. When we are made fully aware that G‑d's existence is the only true reality, and all other reality is merely contingent on His reality, we uncover our true nature: as part of G‑d's absolute reality, our consciousness is Divine consciousness. We discover that the attitude of seeing G‑d everywhere and being aware of Him in everything we do is not second nature—something that supersedes our first nature—but is in fact our primary nature, our real self, that is even more deeply part of us than what we thought was our "first" nature.

This is the inner meaning of "kindling a wick until it burns on its own": we must strive to refine ourselves, others, and the world around us until everyone's and everything's intrinsic Divine nature is revealed, and therefore burns with Divine consciousness as part of its own inherent nature. Only when we have accomplished this have we truly and fully made this world into G‑d's home.

[Based on Sefer HaSichot 5751, vol. 2, pp. 598-610
© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org]