Parashat “Behaalotcha” contains a unique aspect that does not exist in any other of the Torah portions. If we closely examine the text of the Torah Scroll, we’ll see the following two verses that are set apart from the rest of the text by upside down letters “nun”:
“So it was, whenever the ark set out, Moses would say, Arise, O HaShem, may Your enemies be scattered and may those who hate You flee from You. And when it came to rest he would say, Repose O HaShem, among the myriads of thousands of Israel…” (“Behaalotecha”, 10:35-36)
In Talmud (Shabbat, 116a), our Sages explain that these verses can be considered as a separate book of the Torah!
The Rebbe’s reveals:
– According to this reckoning, there are seven books of the Torah:
- the Book of Bamidbar which is divided into three books,
- and the other four books of the Torah.
All of these three additional Torah books are included (fully or in part) in the weekly Torah portion of “Behaalotcha”.
… There are extensive explanations regarding the significance of the division of the Torah into five books. But what is the significance of the seven books? What is the reason that this division is made inside the weekly portion of “Behaalotcha”?
The answer to these questions can be found in the opening passage of this Torah portion when Aharon ha-Cohen is commanded to raise light in the lamps of the Menorah:
HaShem spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aharon and say to him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah.” (Bamidbar, 8:1-2).
The Menorah is a symbol of the Torah for “the Torah is light”. Just as the Menorah had seven branches, the Torah can be divided into seven books:
This is especially relevant within the context of our service of HaShem. The candles refer to our service of Torah and mitzvos, “a mitzvah is a candle and the Torah, light” and similarly to our souls, “the candle of G‑d is the soul of man.” The light of Torah must illuminate every aspect of our lives, even our involvement with mundane affairs, and even our surrounding environment. Through the mitzvos which establish a tzavta (“bond”) between G‑d and our material world, the world is transformed into a dwelling for G‑d, a shining Menorah which spreads light.
This light must be kindled “until the flame rises up on its own accord” (as the Rashi points out in his commentary to the beginning of the Torah portion). Although the Menorah is lit by a Jew (Aharon the Priest), the ultimate purpose is that it shine on its own accord, without the assistance of the person lighting the Menorah.
Similarly, in regard to every person. HaShem grants every Jew the potential to carry out the service of “the light of Torah and the candle of mitzvah”. In addition to that, every Jew receives influence from “Aharon the Priest” of hid generation – the one who lights the candles of the souls of the Jewish people.
However, the ultimate purpose is that the candle of his soul shines on its own accord.
A soul should be permeated by “the light of Torah and the candle of mitzvah” to the extent that, without any external influence, this flame “rises up on its own accord”…
Based on the Rebbe’s talk on Shabbat Behaalotcha, 19th Day of Sivan, 5751 (1991).
This week: discover more in “The Rebbe’s Talks” podcast based on this talk. You can find it on the main screen of the R24 app.