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by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

In this week's Torah portion we read that Moses was told to instruct his brother Aaron (the high priest) to kindle the seven candles of the golden Menora (candelabra). In the Temple this daily Mitzvah was performed in the afternoon and the flames would burn throughout the night. 


The mystics explain that this mitzvah was not just about lighting candles. It represented a deeper process that was taking place simultaneously. The flames of the Menora represent the souls of the Jewish nation. Like the seven branches of the candelabra there are different types of souls each with a distinct personality and mission. It was Aarons job to infuse and inspire each soul with a fiery passion and G-dly love to have strength to grow and develop. The daily kindling of the Menorah was the physical expression of this spiritual accomplishment. 


When researching the laws of this Mitzvah we discover a detail that is puzzling. The law states that kindling the menorah is the one temple ritual that does not require a Kohen to be the one to do it. Although the Mitzvah was communicated to Aaron, anyone, even a non-Kohen could be the one. 


The explanation of this detail highlights a fundamental lesson. Everyone has the ability to inspire others. You don't have to be a High Priest or even a regular Kohen. Everyone can light someone else's flame. Not everyone can teach and impart deep mystical ideas - for that we need scholars. Not everyone is a role model of perfect purity and holiness - that is reserved for a select group of Tzadikim (righteous people) in every generation. Not everyone can tell the future - for that we have prophets. 


But we all have the ability to be passionate, excited and enthusiastic about growing and developing a connection to G-d to the best of our ability - and true passion is contagious


Lighting the Menorah is a mitzvah every day. Each day ask yourself: Who can I inspire today and whose flame can I ignite?

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