Parashat Behaalot’ha (When You Kindle)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 8:1–12:6
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
As I was reading this week’s Parasha and Haftara one word connected the two, which is the "Menorah". In the vast majority of English translations I read, Numbers 8:2 is translated as:
Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you mount the lamps, the seven lamps will give light in the front of the lampstand.’
The verse in the original Hebrew is as follows:
דַּבֵּר֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֵלָ֑יו בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת
I believe this verse ought to be translated differently to keep the integrity of the Hebrew intact. My translation is much more literal, and therefore reads less smoothly in English. Here is my suggested translation:
Speak to Aaron and say to him ‘When you light (elevate, increase) the lamps toward the face of the Menorah (Lampstand), shine the light seven lamps.’
As I read this portion, I pondered the meaning of the various specific elements, which are mentioned here in Hebrew:
- The “Menorah” (lampstand) (הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה)
- The “Pnei HaMenora” (the face of the lampstand) (פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה) *This can be translated in Hebrew two ways; either as “in front of” or “the face of”. I personally believe that the accurate translation here ought to be the face of the Menorah.
- The “Nerot” (נֵּרֹ֔ת) which are the lamps/lights/candles.
When we put these “pieces” together, I believe we get an amazing prophetic picture, which connects to the way Aaron was instructed to “bring up” the lights (lamps) before the face of the lampstand. God Himself is the Menorah (lampstand); Yeshua is the face of God through which the Father has chosen to shine His light:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
It is also important to note that all of the candles are pointing up toward the face of the Menorah. We, His followers, are the candles and we should all point to Him as it is His light that we reflect in and through our lives.
As I said earlier, "Menorah" is the word that connects the Parasha to the Haftara. In Zechariah 4:1-7 we read:
Then the angel who had been speaking with me returned and woke me, like a person who is awakened from his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belongingto each of the lamps which are on the top of it; also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.” Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of Tzeva'ot (armies). ‘Who are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring out the top stone with shouts of “Graciousness, Graciousness" to it!'"
These verses from Zechariah are very interesting, and I would like to share a few thoughts about them from my perspective:
- The need to wake up — In verse one of Zechariah 4, we find that the angel that spoke to Zechariah in chapter 1:1 came back and woke Zechariah from his sleep. I believe that a day is coming when the same angel will come and "wake up" the children of Israel from their sleep so that they will be able to understand the Word in an unmistakable way.
- An amazing prophetic picture — Zechariah saw the vision of the Menorah which is an amazing prophetic picture that points to the vision that John saw, which he wrote in the Book of Revelation: And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. Revelation 1:12–13
- God’s Spirit — Zechariah 4:6 refers to the power of God's mighty Spirit. God’s Spirit alone will open the eyes of His Children. It will not be the work of humans or strong armies by force; God Himself will open the eyes of those who are sleeping to the truth of His Word.
I would like to close with Zechariah 4:7 “‘What are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring out the top stone with shouts of “Graciousness, Graciousnes"s to it!'” In other words, nothing — not even a great mountain — can stop God’s plan from coming to fruition! Even the greatest mountain will be flattened and God Himself will bring the top stone i.e., the corner stone, Yeshua, to be the center!
The Menorah shines His light, and we His ambassadors ought to do the same, making sure that we do it with His oil (His Spirit) and that we point to Messiah Yeshua who is the face of the Menorah.
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