Home BRI Women Parshat Beha’alotcha: The Seven Lamps on Your Head

Parshat Beha’alotcha: The Seven Lamps on Your Head

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

The Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to Aharon and say to him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall shine their light toward the face of the menorah.” Numbers 8:1-2

Rashi explains that Beha’alotcha, which we translate as when you light, actually means when you raise up. When we kindle a flame, it rises up. Rebbe Nachman tells us that each of us has a flame that we can raise up. This flame is the flame of our heart. When our heart is ignited and our inner flame rises up, it illuminates our face with divine light.

I’m sure you’ve seen people who have what we might think of, as a holy-shiny face. Their faces are glowing with spiritual joy. This is because the flame of their hearts has risen up to illuminate their face.

There is something compelling about this holy illumined face, so much so that when we see it, we want it too. Rebbe Nachman tells us how to achieve this illumination.

He explains that a person’s head corresponds to a menorah. The seven candles correspond to our two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth. The Rebbe goes on to tell us when we sanctify our personal seven lamps, the flame of our heart will rise up and make our face radiate this beautiful light.

How do we sanctify our seven candles? Here is a brief overview:

We sanctify candle one, the mouth, by refraining from speaking falsehood. Falsehood includes anything that isn’t true but also includes things we might not think of as falsehood. For example, lashon hara, negative words about another Jew, is considered a falsehood (even if what we say is “true.”) Every Jew has a nekuda tova, a good point. When we look at the good point the bad falls away. That is the deepest truth.  When we speak lashon hara, we are denying this ultimate truth. Sarcasm and mockery, especially making fun of people or things that are religious, is also considered a type of falsehood. When we refrain from that kind of talk, that is what is going to light our fires, so to speak. We can also speak positive words of truth, such as speaking to each other about Hashem, sharing the words of the tzaddikim, as well as giving each other words of encouragement and kindness. Those are all true things to speak about.

How do we sanctify our two nostrils? By breathing in Yirat Hashem, which is a tremendous awe-fear of God. When we have this holy awareness that permeates every breath, we are sanctifying our nostrils. Also, we sanctify our nostrils when we are patient. We take a deep breath, we count to ten, and avoid erupting in impatience or anger.

How do we sanctify the two candles of our ears? We sanctify them by having emunah in the tzaddkim. When we have faith in the tzaddikim and we listen to their words, we are making our ears holy. When we talk about the inspiring holy teachings of the true tzaddikim, we are sanctifying our ears. Also, by not listening to negative speech such as lashon hara or profanity.

How do we sanctify our eyes? We shut them against evil. We don’t gaze at things we are not supposed to gaze at. That obviously includes immoral images but also includes things that don’t belong to us, material things that we might possibly covet.  We also don’t look negatively at someone. By refraining from looking at the negative we sanctify our eyes. Also, by actively looking for the sparks of holy creation and the sparks of Hashem in all Jews and in all of creation. When we look for the good, we sanctify the two lamps of our eyes.

When we work on sanctifying the lamps of our head, our own personal menorah, the flame of our heart can’t be contained. It rises up and gives us that wonderful, holy illuminated face, just like the menorah in the sanctuary.

May you have a day of lamp-lighting.

Note: For more information see Likutey Moharan Lesson 21

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