• August 28th, 2022
  • Elul 1st, 5782

BEHA'ALOTECHA

To Ascend

Presented By
Torah Contributor

To Stand on Your Own

Beha'alotecha commences with Aaron being commanded to light the 7-candle menorah, the "candelabra" in the Tabernacle.  He is commanded using the word "Beha'alotecha", which means, to cause the candles to "ascend" or rise up.  The mystics interpret this commandment to mean that Aaron must light the candles until they ascend (stay lit) on their own, independent from the source of fire with which they were lit. This same principal applies to us when we are teaching others or helping to elevate another's soul with love or wisdom.  It is not enough to just hold the fire there, but we must ensure that the person or their soul is elevated and can rise on their own, no longer dependent upon us.  The true union occurs when each person can independently connect with one another.

Secret of the Second Pesach

We further read in Beha'alotecha how G-d tells Moses to instruct the Israelites to keep Passover in its anointed season on the 14th day of the first month of Nisan.  Moses instructs the people and the holiday was kept according to it's ordinances and details.  There were certain men however that had become ritually impure from handling a dead body and were not able to make the required Pesach sacrifice due to their state of impurity. They questioned Moses, and G-d told Moses that anyone that is ritually impure or on a journey "far away", that they will keep Pesach the following month on the 14th of Iyar, when they could make the applicable sacrifice. This second Pesach is called Pesach Sheni. There is a dot over the word "rechokah" (far away) and we can learn from this that no matter how far away we are, either physically or spiritually, if we make the required effort, we will be presented with the opportunity again in our lives - in this instance connecting to the energy of freedom associated with Passover.  Also, on Pesach Sheni, it is for one day and we are able to eat both Chametz and Matzah, hinting to us that when we repent or become clean, we can reconnect in an instant and do not need to go through the entire process like we do during the initial 7-day Passover holiday.

Trust & Certainty

The portion continues and describes how the Israelites journeyed through the desert with the Golden Ark, the Tabernacle (portable sanctuary) and the Second Ark which held the broken tablets. It details how when a cloud covered and settled on the Tabernacle, the Israelites settled camp and when the cloud was taken up, they continued to journey.  Regardless of whether the cloud was settled on the camp for 1 day, 1 month or 1 year, the Israelites had certainty in G-d's plan and directive. When we follow the Ark and the Torah, we are protected, enabling us to share and love and find true meaning in our existence. Also, we see that can make our own plans, but we must have faith that G-d knows when we are to move forward in life.  We saw this play out in our lives with the Coronavirus pandemic. When it was time to encamp, regardless of our plans to the contrary, we remained at home. Let go, let G-d and have certainty in the universal plan unfolding in our lives.

Appreciation

We read in the 6th section of Beha'alotecha how some of the Israelites (the mixed multitude) began to complain that they did not have meat and reminisced about eating fish and other foods back in Egypt. The manna which they were provided was not good enough and they complained to Moses. Moses told this to G-d who became angered and said through Moses - "you shall not eat [meat] for one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days, but you shall eat it for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and it shall be loathsome to you".  He then sent quail for them to eat and "smote" the people who had complained. We learn here the importance of appreciation. The Israelites had just witnessed miracles and had been delivered by G-d, though Moses' leadership, from slavery in Egypt. It is amazing how fast we can forget what we have and become focused on our lack of something else. When we do not appreciate - whether our relationships, our work or our spiritual connections, our blessings and good fortune can be taken from us in an instant.

Gossip, Leprosy, and the Power to Heal

In the last section of the portion, we read how Miriam gossips to Aaron about Moses' separation from Tzipora, his wife.  G-d is angered about the gossip and inflicts Miriam with leprosy. Despite her actions, Moses pleads with G-d to heal her and uses the phrase "el na refa na la", which means "heal her now G-d, I pray you."  After 7-days separated from the camp, her leprosy was healed and she was permitted back into the camp.  We can learn two important lessons from this  short passage: 1. gossip or evil speech, in Hebrew, Lashon harah, is a terrible act which can result in leprosy or skin disease and should not be engaged in at any time. It hurts three people - the person saying it, the person hearing it and the person about which it is being said; and 2. by praying to G-d and asking for healing, we are able to experience healing in our lives.  Oftentimes we wonder why we are not experiencing blessings or, G-d forbid, are befallen by negativity in our lives. It is up to us to speak clearly to G-d, the Light or the creator, and ask in our own words what we want, whether it is healing for ourselves or others, prosperity or anything else we desire.