Parashat Baalotecha begins:

G‑d spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and tell them. When you raise up the lights towards the center of the candelabra, there should be lit seven candles." (Num. 8:2)

Referring to the verse "The candle of G‑d is the soul of man," (Prov. 20:27) the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that seven candles of the candelabra represent the souls of the Jewish people as they are divided into seven different aspects of service to G‑d. Like a candle, the soul is supposed to shine until it rises upward (see Rashi on the above verse). How do we accomplish this? When a person is involved in serving G‑d and his soul is able to express its true purpose in the world, then it rises upward naturally, as it is written, "The commandments are the candle and the Torah is the flame." (Prov. 6:23) Rising has two connotations: connecting to G‑d above and not being distracted by difficulties in this world, below.

The Menorah represents the spiritual entity of all of the souls of the Jewish people together…

The Menorah was, by divine command, molded out of one piece of gold. The branches as well as the center column were all hammered into shape from one solid piece. As a unit, the Menorah represents the spiritual entity of all of the souls of the Jewish people together. Just as gold is precious and the Menorah is of one piece, so are the Jewish people.

All seven candles are lit facing the center of the Menorah. This is representative of their unity. Nevertheless, each candle was independent. Each of the seven symbolize different souls with their individual types of spiritual service. Each stands on its own; each is to be specific in purpose. Yet, they are to be unified totally in their service to G‑d. The directive to us is to be united, in spite of our individuality.

Any pride that we feel should be in how well we use the gifts that G‑d gives us…

Toward the end of the portion is a powerful verse, or should I say, a humbling one. "And the man Moses was very humble, more than all the people on the face of the earth." (Num. 12:3) Moses, the greatest of the prophets, is the humblest man ever?! Yes, because he kept aware that all his talents were not earned, but rather given to him by G‑d. Whatever greatness he had was not his own to take pride in at all. Had someone else been given the same attributes, they would have been able to do his job at least as well, he figured. Any pride that we feel should be in how well we use the gifts that G‑d gives us to serve Him with.

The Midrash says that Moses saw in a book written by the first man, Adam, a listing of each generation with its wise men and leaders. Moses saw that the last generation before the arrival of the Mashiach would be a very lowly one. Their divine service, in comparison to the earlier generations, will be seen as almost valueless. Nevertheless, even without the high ideas and ideals of their predecessors, they would zealously keep the Torah as well as they are able, even in the face of terrible difficulties and even to the point of sacrificing their lives. It was written that by doing this, they would give tremendous pleasure to the Almighty. Moses was intensely affected by the determination of these souls and held himself to be smaller in spiritual stature than them. This is the meaning of the end of the above verse, "from all the people on the face of the earth", to include even the last generation before Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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