Vol 21.22 - Terumah 3             Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5743) Depiction of the Menorah in the hand writing of Rambam (1) the cups - their mouths are (wide) downward and their stems (narrow) upwards. The arms of the Menorah diagonally extend (and are not bowed).

Picture of the Menorah.  


This week's Torah portion, Teruma, contains the commandment to fashion a menora for the Sanctuary. "You shall make a menora of pure gold."

Maimonides, one of the greatest Torah scholars of all time, drew a detailed diagram of the menora which greatly helps us understand what it looked like. The diagram shows us the shape of the menora's branches, the location of its "flowers" and "bowls," and many other details.

Maimonides depicted the menora's bowls (which were actually cups) in the shape of triangles. A cup is similar to a triangle as it is usually wider on the top and narrower on the bottom.

Surprisingly, however, Maimonides drew the bowls of the menora upside-down. All 22 of the bowls are depicted as inverted triangles, the wider part on the bottom and the narrower part at the top.

Thus, according to Maimonides' drawing, the bowls of the menora were designed as if to pour their contents out.

What does this teach us? Why were the bowls of the menora upside-down?

The bowls are symbolic of the function of the menora and, by extension, the Holy Temple. A regular menora or candelabrum is designed to illuminate the inside of one's home. The menora in the Sanctuary, by contrast, was designed to illuminate the outside. Even without the menora the Temple was well lit. The reason it was kindled was to illuminate the world at large and demonstrate that G-d's Presence rested upon Israel.

The windows of the Holy Temple were fashioned according to the same principle. These unique windows were opaque from within yet transparent from without. Unlike other windows they did not draw light inside, but carried the light of the Holy Temple outward.

Similarly, a regular cup is designed to contain liquid. But the bowls of the menora were inverted, shaped like cups that pour their liquid out for those who are thirsty!

The true purpose of the Temple (and the menora) was to shine the light of holiness upon the entire world, not to contain it within its walls. Both its windows and the bowls of the menora expressed this concept, reflecting their primary function of imbuing the world with a holy illumination. For the Holy Temple is the place which lights up the entire world.

From this we learn an important lesson: The light of Torah and mitzvot (commandments) must not be kept to oneself. Rather, we must always strive to share it with others, thereby illuminating the world at large with holiness.

Adapted for Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot vol. 21 - http://www.lchaimweekly.org/lchaim/5771/1157.htm




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