Eternal Blessings and Eternal Light

Eternal Blessings and Eternal Light

Parshat Behaalotcha begins with God's command to Moshe to tell Aharon (Bamidbar 8:2): "When you light the lamps towards the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast their light."

Rashi asks why the Parsha of the Menorah is adjacent to the Parsha of the nesiim, leaders described in Parshat Naso, Bamidbar, chapter 7. Parshat Naso describes Moshe's completion of the Mishkan, Tabernacle. After Moshe anointed the Mishkan and consecrated it, each day a leader of each tribe of Israel brought korbanot, sacrifices.

Midrash Tanchuma answers that when Aharon saw the leaders dedication offerings he was humiliated, since he did not join them in this dedication and neither did his tribe, the tribe of Levi. When God saw Aharon's frustration and he told him not to worry, "You will have a greater honor than they will, for you will light and cleanse the lamps."

According to Ramban who quotes Rabbeinu Nisim, this midrash refers to Aharon's descendants, the Chashmonaim (Macabees) who lived at the time of the Second Temple. The Chashmonaim led the overthrow of the Greek invaders, rededicated the Beit HaMikdash and lit the Menorah. Their victory is commemorated throughout the generations by the lighting of the Chanukiah (Chanukah Menorah). Thus, Aharon's mitzvah is greater than that of the other tribal leaders. The lighting of the Menorah is commemorated eternally, whereas their sacrifices were offered only while the Beit HaMikdash stood.

The midrashim in Tanchuma and Midrash Raba add as well that not only will the candles be lit forever, but all of the blessings that God has given to Aharon and the Kohanim to bless B'nai Yisrael will never come to an end. This refers to Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing, which can be found in Parshat Naso, Bamidbar 6:24-26 which is juxtaposed to the dedication offerings of the nesiim.

Yivarechecha Hashem Veyishmerecha, May God bless you and protect you

Yaer HaShem Panav Elecha Viychuneka, May God cause his countenance to shine upon you and favor you

Yisa HaShem Panav Elecha Viyasem Lecha Shalom, May God lift his face to you and grant you peace.

May our lives be blessed with eternal light and eternal blessings.