Around the Shabbos Table (Tetzaveh)

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The pure olive oil that was used to kindle the lights of the Menorah was produced through a painstaking process. One pure drop of oil was extracted from each olive. The rest of the oil derived from that olive was unfit for the Menorah, although it was used for other aspects of the Temple service. This process yielded the purest oil, free of all sedimentary particles. 

The Menorah and its lights symbolized wisdom. Just as the oil was exquisitely pure, true wisdom springs from an intellect that is pure of all earthiness. The rigorous process of producing pure oil teaches us that even a “particle of earthly influence” can compromise intellectual clarity.

Whereas the more we purify ourselves from attachment to earthiness, the brighter our intellect will shine.  

From ancient days we have recognized the value of wisdom. Each morning the first blessing we recite is, “Blessed are You, HaShem, King of the universe Who gave the heart understanding to distinguish between day and night.” Similarly, the first request we make in our daily prayers is for wisdom, “Endow us with wisdom, insight, and discernment.”

Our appreciation of wisdom inspires us to purify ourselves like the pure olive oil that supplied the flame of the Menorah. In turn, HaShem will bless us with crystal clear clarity  (based on Ohr RaShaz of the Alter of Kelm).

Today: Envision your intellect shining as bright as the pure and holy flame of the Menorah.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and The Salant Foundation

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