B’Ohel Haneviyim: Parshas Beha’aloscha 5773


This week’s Haftorah is a Nevuah from Zechariah. It takes us back to the beginning of Bayis Sheni. Zechariah prophesizes about Yehoshua the Cohen Gadol at the beginning of Bayis Sheni. The actual words of the Nevuah are vague. This vagueness creates a certain complexity in the Nevuah. Zechariah sees Yehoshua the Cohen Gadol standing and next to him there is the Satan and an Angel of Hashem. The Angel tells Yehoshua to take off his soiled clothing; he tells Yehoshua that if he does so he will remove his sins and dress him in clean white garb. Without a good explanation this prophecy seems incomprehensible.

The Meforshim explain that Yehoshua’s sons had married non-Jews and that Yehoshua didn’t sufficiently protest. The Meforshim also explain that once he did, they divorced these wives and the Malach was thus able to remove the sin and dress Yehoshua in pure and clean garb. Further on in the Haftorah, the Menorah of the Beis Hamikdash is mentioned. The Haftorah then ends off with a message: the secret to success does not come through strength or power but rather through the Spirit of Hashem.

It seems, in a way, as if one part of the Haftorah is not connected to the other.

The reason given for reading this Haftorah on Shabbos BeHa’aloscha is because it mentions the Menorah. Our Sedra starts off by talking about the Menorah. However, if we read our Haftorah to remind us of the Menorah – and the sections of the Haftorah are rather divided – why must we read the entire Haftorah as we do?

The Medrash tells us that Aharon Hacohen lived with constant apprehension over the Chet HaEigel. When Klal-Yisroel came to Aharon exclaiming that Moshe was no longer, and that they, therefore, needed some sort of mediator (Avoda zarah) between themselves and Hashem – Aharon not only didn’t protest, but actually seemed to have aided in its construction. The Medrash tells us that Aharon was calmed only when Hashem gave him the privilege of Hadlakas Hamenorah.

Chazal tell us “הרוצה להחכים ידרים“– that someone who wishes to become wiser should face a bit south when he davens. This is because the Menorah was in the south of the Mikdash and the Menorah represents the Torah which is the source of all wisdom. Hashem’s Spirit is found only in Torah.

Aharon Hacohen felt guilty until he was given hadlokas Hamenorah, and the Menorah appears in our Haftorah after Yehoshua Hacohen protested and stood up for the Torah. Hadlokas Hamenorah, containing as it does Hashem’s Spirit, is something that requires purity. One cannot be entirely pure if one even allowed evil to prevail. To be pure means that one has to at least minimally protest and show that one is against all wrong. While we may not be able to control that nothing bad should happen, we can still show that we will have no part in wrongdoings. By purifying ourselves we create a greater sterile region for good to flourish. Just as the Menorah shined the light of Torah unto the world we can shine the light of purity all over the world.

A very warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski