In this passage, Raya Mahemna [lit. the soul of Moses] explains the secrets of the lamp that Aaron the High Priest lit in the Tabernacle in the midst of the Israelite camp in their 40 years in the desert. This lamp was the prototype of the Menorah in both the First and Second Temples and the secrets relating to them applies to our own Chanukah lamps to this day.

All of you Mishnaic Sages and Talmudic Sages gather together, for the time has come to fix the vessels of the King, to set them in order and rectify them. [In the physical world] they are the [ten] vessels of the Tabernacle. They are the Menorah, the Table [of the Showbread], the Altar, the Washbasin and Jug, the Ark and the Curtain [in front of it] and the [two] cherubs and all in its Weight.

Picture in your mind's eye the Tree of Life and see that these ten vessels symbolize the sefirot as follows:

The Menorah - chesed
The Table - gevura
The Altar - tiferet with its connection to malchut
The Basin and Jug or Laver - netzach and hod
The Ark - bina
The Curtain - chochma
The cherubs on the Ark - keter
All in its Weight/shekel - malchut

Because of this [that all is included in its weight/shekel] Israel were commanded, "This [in Hebrew 'zeh'] they shall give…half a shekel according to the shekel of the Sanctuary." (Ex. 30:13) We enter the realm of the spiritual through a properly rectified reality…

The word 'zeh' hints at the sefira of malchut as in the verse "This [zeh] is the gate to G‑d" (Psalms 18:20). We enter the realm of the spiritual through a properly rectified reality (malchut).

One of the Mishnaic Sages stood up and said: "Rayah Mehemnah, this is certainly true [that the ten sefirot of the Sanctuary represent the rectified sefira of malchut] and you [as Moses] were ordered [by G‑d] to make them all, as is written: "And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold" (Ex. 25:32). "And you shall make a table of shittim wood" (Ex. 25:23). And so with all of these [vessels], as is written, "And see them and make them after their pattern that was shown to you on the mountain." (Ex. 25:40)

"And it was not difficult for you to make all of them except for three things that are listed by the letters of your name: Menorah, Shekel and 'The Month' [in Hebrew, 'HaChodesh']."

The first letters of these three spell the name 'Moses' - in Hebrew, 'Moshe' spelled mem-shin-reish. Moses had difficulty with the Menorah because G‑d implied that it had to be made 'of itself'. He did not know how the shekel coin should look and did not know how the moon should look like at the time of its renewal. (Ex.12:2 and Talmud Menachot p29a) Certainly the vessel of the Holy One blessed be He is the Shechina

[Raya Mahemna answered saying:] Certainly the vessel of the Holy One blessed be He is the Shechina [because she is associated with the sefira of malchut in which the ruling hand of G‑d is revealed in the world of action]. She is the vessel that serves her Master. She is His Menorah, as it is said: "Seven times a day I praise You because of Your righteous judgments". (Psalms 119:164)

G‑d is represented by the seven sefirot of Zeir Anpin that reveal themselves in the sefira of malchut. Zeir Anpin is likened to the lights on top of the Menorah lamp. Malchut is likened to the day that contains seven different ways of praise, and to the Menorah that is the base for seven lights. The Hebrew word for praise, 'hallel', is understood here to refer to light as in the verse: "When the light [in Hebrew, 'hilo'] of his candle shone on my head." (Job 29:3) Note also the similarity to the English word 'halo'.

These seven are [the sefirot of] chesed, gevura and tiferet [of Zeir Anpin] and netzach, hod, yesod and malchut. [Malchut is called] 'seven' because it contains these seven levels.

The three branches of the Menorah on one side are the body [tiferet] and the two arms [chesed and gevura] of the King [malchut]. He [Zeir Anpin] is the light of the mitzvah [in Hebrew, 'ner mitzva'] that shines on them. The three branches of the Menorah from second side are the two legs [netzach and hod] and the brit [yesod] and He is the Western lamp [in Hebrew, 'ner maaravi'] that shines on them. Vav is also the middle column of the Menorah…

The Western lamp was the one that was kept constantly burning and from which the other lamps were lit. The western lamp symbolizes the sefirot of netzach, hod and yesod of Zeir Anpin shining down into malchut. Note that the sefira of netzach represents endurance and eternity as does the Western lamp that is symbolized by the Ner Tamid, the 'Everlasting Lamp', in our modern Synagogues. The word 'Maarav' has in it the idea of a 'mixture', in Hebrew, 'meurav', and symbolizes that malchut has a mixture of all of the higher powers. Malchut is called the light of mitzvah from the side of chesed gevura and tiferet, and the western lamp from the aspect of netzach hod and yesod.

Then [when fully lit up] it is called the 'Menorah of the King', and it is also the lamp to light up the light of the mitzvah, as it is written concerning it: "The commandment of G‑d is pure, enlightening the eyes." (Psalms 19:9)

The next section looks at the Menorah from a different perspective and compares it to the actual name of G‑d.

And what of the top [the actual lights] of the Menorah? This represents the sefira of bina [the root of the seven sefirot of Zeir Anpin]. This is the higher hei that has three branches in the way that it is written. These are three letters vav that represent the three Fathers [chesed, gevura and tiferet].

The four letter name Havayah is spelt yud, hei, vav, hei. The first letter, yud, represents the sefira of chochma, the next letter, hei, represents the sefira of bina and it is made up of three lines in the shape of hei. Since a line is also the way the letter vav is written, the text assigns a sefira to each 'sub letter' that the hei is made up of so that the letter hei is shown to represent three entities.

The second letter hei has three lines in the shape of a hei, three letters vav that represent the sefirot netzach, hod and yesod.

Vav is also the middle column of the Menorah. The six branches of the Menorah reflect the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin

The middle letter of the holy name Havayah is a letter vav. This is also reflected in the Menorah that has a straight central column in the shape of a letter vav. This column represents the sefira of daat that flows out of consciousness - represented by the first two letters yud and hei - into the emotions.

[Daat is called] the son of yud hei and this is the reason why bina is called such.

Bina is spelt bet, yud, nun, hei and these letters also form the words 'ben yud-hei'. Since yud and hei represent chochma and bina their 'son', in Hebrew, 'ben', is daat, and the name 'bina' reflects this fact.

[Daat] includes the six lower branches and is in the number six [which is the gematria of the letter vav] in the six branches of the Menorah.

The six branches of the Menorah reflect the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin, and daat consciousness flows down as the soul of each of them from its source above in chochma and bina. This explains why the middle column of the Menorah is straight, like the letter vav that equals six in gematria. These six are the sefirot of chesed gevura tiferet netzach hod and yesod. Here we have learned a meditation for looking at the Menorah as though it represents the name of G‑d and the flow of consciousness from the first yud in the name down the central vav into the 3 lines on either side of the Menorah represented by the three lines in each of the letters hei. The yud appears as the light on top of the middle column changing its shape to the letter zayin.

Yud: "A virtuous woman is the crown to her husband." (Prov. 12:4). The crown on the Torah scroll is like the letter zayin.

Zohar, parashat Terumah 157b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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