Questions and Concepts for Parsha Behaalotchah
(Numbers 8:1 - 12:16)
  1. In the Parsha, we find this command given: Speak to Aaron, and say to him, When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand. (Numbers 8:2) The phrase "when you light the lamps,"(Behaalos’cha es haneiros), literally means, "When you raise up the lamps." How are we "raised up" in service to God?
  2. The Menorah was a light to the world, and thus also represent God’s Torah. Note that even a person who was not a priest could light the lamps. What does this tell us about whose job it is to spread the light of Torah? (Compare to Matthew 5:13-16)
  3. The lamps of the Menorah can also be seen to reflect seven levels of Divine service among the people. How does this diversity add to the unity of the people, rather than detracting from it? (See two previous Torah commentaries for more on this theme.)
  4. Numbers 9:6-11 tells of a "second Passover" being added (a month later) for those who were defiled by a dead body and could not keep the usual Feast. What does this allowance for these men teach us about it being "never too late" with God and being able to rectify your past?
  5. In Numbers 9:14, God states that those gentiles who associate themselves with Israel were to follow the same Torah ordinances as Israel did: "…you shall have one ordinance, for the stranger, and for him who was born in the land." Compare this to Ephesians 2:11-13, where Paul tells gentiles who come to Yeshua that they were no longer to be strangers to the Torah ordinances of Israel as they were now one with them. What implications does this have for those who say they follow Yeshua, but need not be concerned with the Torah? (Compare Yeshua's comments at the beginning of his midrash on Torah observance in Matthew 5:17-21 to his concluding ones in Matthew 7:21-23.)
  6. The Manna in the desert had to be gathered every day and would last only until the next day. How can such a day to day situation be seen as true "freedom?" Compare this to Yeshua’s words: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34) How did the complaining of the Israelites indicate a confused view of what a true freedom is? How is the reflective of a lack of faith? (See Hebrews 4:2.)
  7. Miriam, the sister of Moses, was afflicted with Tzarrat, the punishment for speaking evil against someone (lashon hara.) How does Miriam’s quick and stern punishment indicate the seriousness of lashon hara, as well the principle of teachers being held to a higher standard by God?
  8. Consider this concept:
    Proverbs 20:27 hints of a relationship between man’s soul and the Menorah: The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. The seven lamps of the Menorah represent seven different qualities in the soul of each person, each of which is associated with the "image" of God found within us. These seven are; Mercy, Severity, Harmony, Victory, Submission, Dedication and Fulfillment. Each person has a different "blend" of these qualities within him or her. All seven are found in each person however, just as the branches were all part of the same Menorah. Note also that if we have the Spirit of God in us, we are considered as being "temples of God." Proverbs 9:1 says, Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.  The "house" in proverbs is seen as the Temple, and the seven pillars are the same seven "emanations" of God found in ourselves (and throughout creation).