This week’s Torah portion is Beha’alotcha which means “when you step up”. It opens with a discussion about the daily Menorah lighting in the Tabernacle. As I sat to write this blog, I was about to share on the Menorah as a symbol of light. Then came the still small voice of the Ruach (Spirit) “The Menorah: a symbol of peace”
The Menorah is a seven-branched lampstand formed from a single piece of pure gold which was hammered into shape. It was used to light the Tabernacle in the wilderness and then later the Temple in Jerusalem, and represented the bringing of God’s Light into the world. ADONAI gave specific instructions to Moses about the Menorah in Exodus 25.
“You are to make a menorah of pure gold. It is to be made of hammered work; its base, shaft, cups, ring of outer leaves and petals are to be of one piece with it.
It is to have six branches extending from its sides, three branches of the menorah on one side of it and three on the other.
On one branch are to be three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with a ring of outer leaves and petals; likewise on the opposite branch three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with a ring of outer leaves and petals; and similarly for all six branches extending from the menorah.
On the central shaft of the menorah are to be four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its ring of outer leaves and petals. Where each pair of branches joins the central shaft is to be a ring of outer leaves of one piece with the pair of branches -thus for all six branches. The rings of outer leaves and their branches are to be of one piece with the shaft. Thus the whole menorah is to be a single piece of hammered work made of pure gold. “Make seven lamps for the menorah, and mount them so as to give light to the space in front of it.” (Ezekiel 25:31-37 CJB)
The Menorah is one of the most important Jewish symbols with many interpretations and significance. Jewish tradition teaches that the lampstand is an illuminated tree that goes back to the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, as well as the burning bush described in Exodus 3. However, the Menorah, like all the other things associated with the Tabernacle, is also a “shadow of the good things which are to come” and is featured prominently in Bible prophecy. In Zechariah 4:1-3 we read:
“Then the angel that had been speaking with me returned and roused me, as if he were waking someone up from being asleep, and asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I’ve been looking at a menorah; it’s all of gold, with a bowl at its top, seven lamps on it, and seven tubes leading to the lamps at its top. Next to it are two olive trees, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left.” (Zechariah 4:1-3)
Later in his vision, Zechariah saw that the lamps on the Menorah were getting their supply of oil from the two olive trees. He was told that the olive trees were “the two anointed ones who stand with the Lord“
Like the Menorah, the olive tree has many symbolism. In the account of Noah, the olive branch is depicted as a symbol of God’s promise of hope after the flood. In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul likened Israel to a cultivated olive tree and Gentiles to a wild olive tree. However, when gentiles come to faith in Messiah, they are grafted in, thus becoming one with the cultivated olive tree.
The Menorah represents Yeshua who is both the Light of the world as well as the Prince of Peace. He is the One who has removed the wall of separation, thus bringing peace between Jews and Gentiles. In Ephesians 2: 14 the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For he himself is our shalom (peace) – he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah ( wall) which divided us”
In these times when there is so much darkness and chaos in the world, may we be reminded that as God’s people, we carry His light. We should also seek to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18)
If and when you light the Shabbat candles, remember the Menorah. Remember that one day the Prince of Peace will return to Jerusalem, the city of peace, and He will bring peace to the earth.