"When you kindle the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast light towards the face of the Menorah." (Num. 8:2)

King Solomon said, "G‑d's lamp is the human soul." (Proverbs 20:27) The flame of a candle constantly flickers upwards, as if yearning to leave the wick behind and ascend to the heavens. The soul shares this nature, constantly striving to break out of the boundaries imposed on it by the body and the physical world and reconnect with its spiritual source.

The seven lamps of the Menorah reflect seven different paths of divine service….

At times, however, this nature falls into remission. The soul is so blinded by its surroundings that it forgets its natural thirst for the Divine. This is why the lamps must be kindled. They must be reminded of their inclination to ascend.

The seven lamps of the Menorah reflect seven different paths of divine service, each of which emphasizes one of the seven facets of our emotional relationship with G‑d. They are all part of one candelabrum, just as all of the diverse types of Jews form one collective body. Still, because serving G‑d is the purpose of our existence, our separate paths cause us to be considered separate "lamps". What we do defines who we are.

However, there is a deeper level of the soul, where it has intrinsic value beyond its service to G‑d. At this level, it is an end in itself rather than merely a means to an end, and there is therefore no differentiation of souls based on their different paths of divine service. The Torah therefore first refers to the lamps in general, rather than to a specific number, for the elevation it requires us to seek is intended to reach the level where we are all one.

[From Sefer HaMa'amarim Melukat, vol. 3, pp. 185-190
Copyright 2003 chabad of california / www.lachumash.org]