Rabbi's Corner

The Menorah's Message

In this week's Torah portion we read about the construction of the Mishkan- Tabernacle and the very first mention of that most immediately recognizable Jewish symbol: the seven-branched candelabra known as the Menorah.

Iconic and familiar as it is, the shape of the Menorah deserves some inquiry: If the purpose was to illuminate, why not one large torch, or perhaps, seven distinct lights? There must be a subtext to the unique seven-branch design, stemming from a single base and made- as per G-d's instructions- from one solid piece of gold.

Indeed there is, and as we watch the ‘you-couldn't-make-this-stuff-up’ reality show that is the 2016 election season unfold, the Menorah's timeless message becomes ever more relevant.

Chassidic thought teaches that the seven branches of the Menorah are analogous to seven distinct personality types that comprise the totality of human personality and expression. Some may be more inclined to liberal sensibilities, while others may be more conservative and fiscally conscious; we may have dramatically different views on key issues of great importance.

And yet: while the differences between us are real, we are all branches of one light; essentially, we are one entity working together to be a beacon of light and make this world a brighter place. Like the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin: A Supreme Court with no less than 71 Judges (!) and a vast range of dissenting opinions-- and yet unified with a common purpose. That essential unity of all humankind is a message we would do well to remember.

My wife Raizy and I are currently leading the interactive Jewish Course of Why at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. If you have not done so already, I strongly encourage you to join a sophisticated group- diverse in so many ways- but tackling sociological, religious, and yes, even political issues together.

We look forward to greeting you.

Warm regards,
Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

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