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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Behouqotai: Menorah

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

We see in the beginning of the parasha, how Aharon is given the task of lighting the Menorah candles in the Bet Hamiqdash. Rashi asks why is this parasha placed near the verses regarding what the Nesi'im (tribal leaders) brought for the hanukat (dedication) of the altar?

Rashi answers the question and says Aharon was weakened when he saw the Nesi'im participate in the dedication of the altar, while he and his tribe of Kohanim did not. Hashem therefore reminded him that the Kohanim are dear to Hashem, and have special misvot of their own.

The Midrash Rabba has a puzzling understanding of the events. The midrash says that the misvah of the Menorah was greater than that of the korbanot that the Nesi'im brought, because the korbanot only exist in the time of Bet Hamiqdash, while the misva of the Menorah lasts forever.

How can this be? The Menorah itself was also in Bet Hamiqdash and the misva of lighting it must also be tied to the Bet Hamiqdash being in existence or not.

Rather the point of the Midrash is to tell us that in the next hanukat ha'mizbeash (dedication of altar), Aharon's descendants, the Hashmona'im, will light the Menorah. In rememberance of this miracle, all of Bnei Yisrael will light candles yearly, during the holiday of Hanukah- and this was the intention of the Midrash.

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