Thursday, June 23, 2016

Igniting Souls

In this week's parsha, Bahaloscha, we read about the Menorah. First it tells us how Aaron, the Kohen, should light the Menorah. "When you kindle (literally "raise") the lamps, the seven lights should be made to shine towards the center branch of the Menorah." Then it tells us how it was made. It had to be hammered out of one solid piece of gold.

The Torah already told us how the Menorah was made, what is the point repeating it here? It seems that this section of the Torah is coming to teach us about the lighting of the Menorah, how does its construction fit in?

The Menorah was an ornate candelabra, and though it was complicated to make it, the artisan was not permitted to weld it together from separate pieces, rather it had to be hammered from one piece of gold. Why? Because the Menorah symbolized the Jewish people. The seven branches symbolized seven different spiritual pathways of our souls. It had to be hammered from one piece, because though we have different pathways, our souls are one at its source.

When the Kohen lit the lamps of the Menorah, he was igniting the souls of the Jewish people. The Torah uses the word "raise" to mean kindle, to tell the Kohen that he is to kindle it until the flame rises on its own.

The problem is that while the Menorah is made of one piece, the different branches gives the opposite impression. It seems divided which is the opposite of its purpose.

The job of the Kohen was to complete the Menorah, by setting the wicks in a way that the flames faced the center branch, which tied the whole thing together. Now the Menorah, once again, gave the impression of unity and oneness. So it is the kindling of the the Menorah, that completed its construction.

Hashem tells us, that we will be to him, a kingdom of Kohanim, and a holy nation. Each of us has the ability to ignite the souls of the Jewish people. Here we are taught the right way to do it.

First, you have to know that we are essentially one at our core. Then, you have to recognize that every Jew has a unique pathway, and you're not to force him down your own. Your job is to ignite the others soul, with light and love, until the soul is burning bright on its own. Last but not least, it should be done in a way of unity, that he feels that he one with his people and that his people are one.

So many of us are broken, so many of us are in pain. Each of us are in need of uplifting, of our souls being ignited. This dark exile has gone on long enough. We need to be Kohanim for each other and lift each other up.

I have found, that there is nothing better and more important than lifting the spirit of another. It has become my favorite thing. Even from my bed, with only the use of my eyes, my heart and my smile, I try my best to lift the spirits of people. Every person has good and positive, and if you pay attention, you will see it. When you point out those qualities, you bring out who they are, you see how beautiful they are, and their spirit is lifted.

Lift the spirit of one person and you change the world for good. Here is how it works:

You have the ability to change the world, by having a positive impact on a another person. This person has family and friends, and they have families and friends, and so on. Your positive impact has a ripple effect. Make a positive difference in a person's life, and you will change the world.


  1. Rabbi, you have ignited our souls in so many ways, and you continue to inspire and teach us. Thank you from all your friends/students in Temecula!

  2. Thank you! Gut gezogt. This week was my birthday, tes vov sivan, and I spoke of the menorah and the unity of the Jewish people. May we all, united with one heart, merit being with Moshiach speedily. Only good news and gut Shabbos, Rabbi!

  3. You have lifted my spirit and thru you have helped life the spirit of many others this week as well.
    Thank you!

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  5. Reading this article was uplifting:) Shining a little light goes a long way!

  6. Wonderful chizuk- thank you. What you wrote about recognizing that everyone has his/her own path and we can't force them down ours is so important to keep in mind especailly when raising children.

  7. Wonderful chizuk- thank you. What you wrote about recognizing that everyone has his/her own path and we can't force them down ours is so important to keep in mind especailly when raising children.

  8. Timely advice.
    You seem to often write/talk about things that I have been pondering all week.
    Kindness is a gift we give to others but to ourselves also.
    You have such a kind and beautiful heart and spirit.
    I wish you well Yitzi.
    Thank you for all of the work and effort you put out, to benefit others and lead them in the right way.
    Proverbs 25:11
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.
    G-d bless you and your family.
    Stay strong in Him.

  9. Chelek 28 sicha 1 parshas bhaloischa