21/22 June: Behalotecha : Shabbat comes in 9:07 pm, ends 10:28 pm
It’s not clear how the sacrifices brought by the chieftains at the end of last week’s portion, Naso, and this week’s subject — Aharon lighting the menorah in Behalotecha — are connected to one another. The commentator Rashi (d.1105 France) answers that when Aharon heard about all of the sacrifices the chieftains were bringing he felt he was missing out on their experience. Therefore, God said to him “By your life, your contribution is greater than theirs! You are the one that lights and prepares the lamps!”
Ramban (d. 1270 Eretz Yisrael) explains (by way of Midrash Rabbah) that Aharon’s problem was his inability to see the impact of his actions on the future. Unlike the sacrifices, which are dependent upon the Temple’s existence, Aharon’s contribution and his role with the menorah is eternal, since we still light the Chanukiah in our day. These lights are lit even after the destruction of the Temple and are the eternal connection that we have to Aharon lighting the menorah in the Mishkan.
Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman