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Tetzave: Being a Lamplighter.

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד.

“And you shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually” (Shemos 27:20).

The Holy Rebbe R’ Tzvi Hirsch of Riminov zy”a once explained what we say in the piyut of כי אשמרה שבת that we sing on Shabbos Kodesh, עַל כֵּן אֲכַבֵּס בּוֹ לִבִּי כבוֹרִית - “therefore I will wash my heart like soap.” Why does it say “like soap”? It should rather say “like with soap”!

The answer is that a Jew has to purify his heart so completely, that his heart will turn into “soap” that he will use to cleanse others. We need to transform our hearts into “soap” that is able to purify others.

This is implied in the verse וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ - “acquire for yourself” the ability of שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר - “pure olive oil, crushed for lighting,” to purify and cleanse your heart to such a degree that it will have the power לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד - “to kindle the lamps continually,” to constantly elevate more Jewish souls and set their souls alight, as it says נֵר ה' נִשְׁמַת אָדָם -

“A man’s soul is the lamp of Hashem” (Mishlei 20:27).

And Just as נר אחד נר למאה - “one candle can light a hundred candles without losing its own fire” (Shabbos 122a), so too, a person who invests in lighting up other people’s neshama’s is not giving up his own inspiration, but rather gaining even more.

(ליל שבת קודש - תשנ"ח)

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