Step Up

“…When you ignite the lamps…” – Bamidbar 8:2
בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ אֶת הַנֵּרֹת – במדבר ח, ב


In the Torah’s directive to ignite the lamps of the menorah, the term used for “when you ignite” is beha’aloscha, which literally means, when you cause (the flames) to ascend. The Sages expounded from this term associated with ascending that a step stood in front of the menorah, which the kohen ascended and stood upon while preparing the lamps. (Rashi)


“The lamp of G-d is the soul of man” (Mishlei 20:27). Thus, the kindling of the menorah is also a metaphor for kindling the G-dly flame in the soul of man, to cause the soul to shine brightly with the light of Torah and mitzvos (see also Mishlei 6:23).


Accordingly, the step that stood before the menorah teaches us that when a person engages in igniting the G-dly spark in his fellow Jew, the igniter himself ascends as well. Like the kohen who would ascend a step in order to prepare the lamps of the menorah, a person who takes upon himself to kindle the soul of his fellow Jew is elevated spiritually in every aspect of his life. And from his elevated state, he will certainly succeed in his mission to ignite the lamps of the spiritual menorah.

—Sefer Hasichos 5748, vol. 2, pp. 486-487

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