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Seven Together


February 25, 2024

by Rabbi Daniel Huebner

This week's Torah reading begins with the mitzvah (commandment) of kindling the Menorah in the Tabernacle or Temple every evening. Light represents Torah, which illuminates the world with its divine wisdom and gives us guidance towards leading a spiritual, meaningful life.

The Menorah is also a symbol of Jewish unity:

We are not all the same. According to Kabbalah, there are seven general, distinct Divine Attributes, the seven spiritual Middot or emotional traits. Any of these may be the principal strength or quality our soul, and the mixture of these determines our own unique individuality. These Middot are represented by the seven branches of the Menorah. Despite there being these seven distinct general ways of being, despite everyone having their own way of self expression, we are all united in substance, sharing as we do, in our essence, the pure gold of which the Menorah is composed.

This unity is also highlighted by the construction of the Menorah. The Menorah was not assembled from different pieces. Instead it was hammered out of one solid block of gold. This illustrates that, not only is our spiritual essence of the same substance (as we discussed in the preceding paragraph), but that even despite our apparent individuality, we are essentially one entity.

Why is the Menorah, a metaphor for the Torah, also the symbol of Jewish unity? There were many vessels in the Tabernacle/Temple. Why, of all of them, was the Menorah chosen to express the oneness of our people? In true Jewish style, we can answer this question by asking another:

A similar question is asked with regards to our relationship with G-d. The Zohar tells us that "three knots connect to each other: the Holy One, blessed be He; the Torah; and [the people of] Israel." Through connecting to the Torah, we connect to G‑d.

The need for this intermediary is at first glance puzzling, because the bond between the Jew and the Creator precedes the existence of the Torah. This precedence is evidenced by the fact that the Torah is replete with phrases that already reference the Jewish people: "Speak to the children of Israel," "Command the children of Israel," etc. The Torah, speaking of a people that already exists, was written as a guidebook for that nation. Why is it necessary for the Jew to connect to G‑d through the Torah, if we enjoyed a relationship with Him before the Torah came to be?

The Jewish soul always had an intimate relationship with G‑d. But this relationship is concealed when the soul descends into the human body. Then, rather than yearning to deepen the soul’s relationship with G‑d, the person is naturally consumed by the pursuit of materialism.

The Torah, which is likened to light, reveals the soul and its G‑dly nature. One who studies Torah becomes aware of the triviality of physical pursuits. He becomes, instead, involved in a holy, spiritual world; revealing his soul and connecting with it. Studying Torah doesn’t create a connection with G‑d; it helps us become aware of it.

The same can be said regarding Jewish unity. True love for another Jew can be felt only by one who is in tune with his soul. As Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, writes: "The souls all have one Father, and it is on account of this common root in the One G‑d that all of Israel are called 'brothers'—in the full sense of the word. Only the bodies are distinct from each other. Therefore, there can be no true love and fraternity between those who regard their bodies as primary and their souls secondary, but only a love based on an external factor."

The lesson of the Menorah then is that true Jewish unity, a unity which stems from the soul, comes by way of the study of Torah and behaving in accordance with its righteous commandments.


Rabbi Daniel and Raizel Huebner moved to San Miguel from New Jersey in 2018 with their family to start Chabad SMA. They enjoy living in San Miguel and integrating with the community through classes, Jewish activities and social events.


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