October 17, 2018 ~ Shabbat LEKH LEKHA. Maqam SABA.

Shabbat Behaalotekha - שבת בהעלותך

The Menora

בהעלותך את הנרות אל מול פני המנורה - The light of the Menora has elevated (בהעלותך) many people throughout the generations, although no official reason for it's existence is offered anywhere in the Torah. It is only until we read about an angel who approached Zekaria (Zekaria 4) that we are offered a clear explanation. In a dream, Zekaria had a vision of a gold Menora along with two olive trees. "Do you know what this means?" asked the angel. When Zekaria admits that he did not, the angel tells him that the light of the Menora symbolizes that it is "not by might, and not by power, but by My spirit alone" (לא בחיל ולא בכח כי אם ברוחי) that will bring you salvation. The light of the Menora is a powerful reminder that we don't have to be mighty warriors in order to overcome mountainous obstacles but rather, our success comes directly from the light of God that continues to inspire us. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 10, 2017.

Nostalgia

זכרנו את הדגה - Whenever I hear Syrian Jews recall the "good old days" in Bradley Beach, they often describe it as if everything from this era was perfect. This type of yearning for the past in a sentimental way is referred to as nostalgia. In talking about Bradley, community members often relive the fun and excitement of their youth and the communal unity that they experienced. This type of nostalgia can be viewed as helpful especially if we want to recreate the feelings of love and unity. Another type of nostalgia, however, takes place in Numbers 11:5. Here, lustful Israelites say "We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt; all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that we wanted." These Israelites were punished, because they had nostalgia for the wrong things. Instead of thanking God for the simple manna that they had as a free nation, they fantasized about their time as lowly slaves but surrounded by good food. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 2, 2018.


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