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Parsha Ponderings – Bamidbar – Cut of the Same Cloth

ולקחו בגד תכלת וכסו את מנורת המאור

ואת נרותיה ואת מלקחיה ואת מחתותיה ואת כל כלי שמנה אשר ישרתו בה בהם

And they shall take a techeiles-garment and cover the Menorah of Illumination and its lamps, tongs, scoops and oil vessels, with which they minister to it

An analysis of the process used to wrap the many vessels of the Tabernacle for transportation, reveals something unique about how the Menora is wrapped as opposed to all other vessels.

Both the Menora and other vessels, including the Shulchan [Table] and Mizbeiach [Altar], had accompanying tools used in their service which were to be packed together with the vessel itself. Unlike the Menora, however, the other vessels were first wrapped alone in one cloth, and only then was its paraphernalia spread atop the vessel and jointly wrapped in yet another cloth. Thus, there remained a divide between the vessel and its tools even as they were transported as one. In the case of the Menora, however, the Torah specifically states that both the Menora and its tools are jointly wrapped in a double-layer of cloth, with nothing dividing between them.

The obvious question: Why the difference?

Perhaps the uniqueness of the Menora in this matter can best be understood by taking a closer look at what it is that the Menora represents. Our Sages teach that each vessel in the Tabernacle had a unique function for which it stood. The Shulchan, we are told, represents physical sustenance, and serves as a conduit for our livelihood. Similarly, the Altar serves as a conduit for atonement. The Menora, for its part, represents Torah She’Baal Peh, [the Oral Law], or better put, the Torah which we are to internalize and come to represent.

With this in mind, the following message seems to take shape. When it comes to any given goal but Torah, there is a disconnect between the tools used to achieve that end, and the end itself. Using livelihood as an example, there is a large gulf between utilizing the tools which are supposed to make money, and making money itself (as many of our readers can certainly attest). While all wealth is generated by those means, (any lottery winners you know?), by no means does that mean that those means mean wealth. And so it is with everything in life….

…Everything, that is except Torah. The attempt to internalize Torah is itself Torah-internalization. Torah does not wait for us to reach its high perch and huddle under its tightly-held wings. Instead, Torah itself wraps its warm blanket around anyone willing to merely grab one of its tools and give it a go. It is telling that the Menora is referred to in this context as the Menora of Illumination, for the message here is that there is no corner too dark for Torah’s light to reach. Grab a Gemora and try comprehend, grab a Chumash and try understand, even grab a Siddur and try to pronounce, and you are not on your way to Torah, you’re there. Yes, your knowledge may be lacking, but as far as where you stand, you can proudly consider yourself a member of the Torah household, for you, the Torah whiz,and indeed, the Torah itself, are all covered by the same cloth….. and cut of the same cloth too.

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