Beha’alotecha 2024



By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron

This parsha opens with a commandment in regard to the lighting of the Menora. The central beam of the Menora was known to exhibit a miracle: it would last all day and from it the Menora was lit the next day. This miracle was considered a sign that the Shechina rests with Israel (Shabbat 22b). Indeed, in this painting we see the Menora with flame in the form of a Shin rising from the central beam. In many of R’ Nachshon’s paintings we see the Shin as a symbol of holiness, as the Shin on the Mezuza represents the God’s Name Shadai, and so we also find two Shins on tefilin. Therefore, the fact that this Shin rises from the central beam seems to reflect the idea that the Holy Presence is indicated by the central beam of the Menora. Notice as well, that from the Menora emanate “angelic” figures hinting to the high spiritual value of the Menora and connection to the Holy Presence and not for mere illumination of the Temple.
Parallel to the seven branches of the Menora we also find seven figures depicted here, seeming to parallel the seven lower sefirot. There is a pair of Hasidim carrying flags, something associated to the legions of Israel, as we find in the past few parshiot in Bamidbar. Kabbalitically, legions are associated with the sefirot of netzach and hod, which are also considered a “pair” that goes together Kabbalistically. Below there is another pair which seem to parallel the other pair we just discussed. This pair seems to correspond to hesed and gevura, which are considered to parallel netzach and hod. The large figure to the right seems to hint Moshe Rabeinu “the humblest of man,” as mentioned in this parsha, and therefore his face and body are not seen, as if they are nothingness in Moshe Rabeinu’s self-abnegation. Also to his side is a serpent resembling a rod, representing the miraculous rod of Moshe Rabeinu that turned into a snake. According to the Kabbalists Moshe Rabeinu is associated to the sefira of tiferet. The winged-angelic figure blowing the shofar close to the center corresponds to the sefira of yesod, associated by the Kabbalists to the shofar (see Nahar Shalom 39b) and also to the concept of angel (for example, malach – angel – has the numerical value of 91 associated with the combination of Havaya and Adnut associated to the sefira of yesod). Upon the earth there is a feminine figure which apparently corresponds to the sefira of malchut associated with the the feminine and also with the earth.
About Hebron it says that it was built “seven years before Zoan of Egypt/Mitzrayim,” and also King David ruled seven years in Hebron before ruling in Jerusalem. We may correlate these two ideas by interpreting the verse about Zoan somewhat homiletically by saying that Hebron was built towards the move – which is the meaning of “Zoan” – from the narrowness, “Mitrayim/Metzar,” of Kingship towards the broadening of Kingship in Jerusalem. Ultimately, there is verse says that “from the narrowness I call to God, and He answers me in the broadness.” This may hint to the idea that it is through the spiritual work in narrowness in Hebron that ultimately we will reach redemption in broadness.

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