The Ceremony of Lighting
It will be a very long time before Moshe is actually told to teach the Mitzvah of the Menorah. Many commentaries read the opening of this portion as “When you will give over the Mitzvah of the Menorah, this is how you shall teach them to produce the oil…”
The Ba’al Haturim reads this verse as the Mitzvah for women to light Shabbat candles.
Moshe has completed the initial instructions for building the Mishkan – Tabernacle – and is about to introduce the laws of the Priestly Garments – the Bigdei Kehuna – and stops for a moment, to teach us how to sanctify our homes. He teaches us how to transform our homes into a Mishkan. The Ba’al Haturim says that it begins with the Shabbat Candles.
The Menorah oil demands time, work, patience, care and devotion. So too, says the Ba’al Haturim, demand the Shabbat candles. They must be an occasion, a moment that demands preparation and work. It can never be just a simple ceremony rushed through to begin the Shabbat.
And there’s more….
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