The Torah describes the process of making the Menora as מקשה (literally hammered or beaten). The Menorah was made of one solid block of gold weighing a Kikar. It could not be made of pieces welded together. The gold would be beaten into shape with a hammer.
The force of the hammer would mould and direct the malleable gold. The gold which was initially higher would be pushed downwards and that which was lower would be pushed upwards until it took its form.
The Menorah represents the Jewish people. Yes there are seven unique branches, but in essence we are all one. The lowly foot and the uppermost flower-shape decoration, עד ירכה עד פרחה, are all integral and without them, the Menorah is invalid.
All of the Jewish people are responsible for one another -כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה. The word ערבים can also mean mixed; that all of the Jewish people are blended together to create a whole and each of us is influenced spiritually by the actions of one another.
Like the gold being hammered, sometimes the negativity from above - from a more spiritually elevated individual - is pushed down and manifests itself in the lowly sinful person. So too, sometimes the Mitzvos of the lowly person are elevated and influence the more lofty ones.
So, when we see negativity and flaws in someone who appears spiritually “lower” than ourselves, we should see their negativity as really being our own. But we should view ourselves in the inverse. We must take ownership of our negativity, but should view our merits and positive qualities as perhaps coming from those who we saw as being spiritually lower than us.
This way, we focus only the positive in others, leaving the fault-finding for our own Avodah. With this Achdus, we create a Menorah which is all of pure gold, from top to bottom. A Menora which will shine and radiate with the inner light of the pure Jewish soul.
The Kiyor (wash fountain) was made from the copper mirrors of the Jewish women, who used them to beautify themselves for their husbands and give birth to the Jewish nation in Egypt.
Moshe did not want to use them since they were items made for arousing the Yetzer Hora. But Hashem told Moshe to take them, “for they are more precious to Me than anything else”.
What was Hashem’s message?
The Mishkan of our lives does not just comprise of our innately holy activities of Torah study and prayer. These are the pursuits of our G-dly soul. We need to elevate the drives and passions of our animalistic soul which are not so readily G-dly, so that they too are brought into our inner Mishkan and dedicated to Hashem.
By harnessing and channeling our desires and imbuing our worldly involvements with holy intentions, we emulate the Jewish women in Mitzrayim and how they used their mirrors.
It’s not easy and it comes with inner struggle. But it is the struggle that makes it so meaningful. When we can direct our desires in this way, there is nothing more sublime and it is more precious to Hashem than anything else.
On top of the cover of the Aron stood two Keruvim that reflect the love of Hashem to the Jewish people. These Keruvim had the face of a baby.
The Midrash likens Hashem’s love for the Jewish people to the love of a parent to a young child.
The powerful love of a parent to their child does not depend on the qualities or talents the child possess or lacks. It is unaffected by the child’s behaviour or faults. It is an essential love emanating from an essential bond. A parent loves their child because they are a part of themselves.
This is true for all children but most evident in the love for a baby. A baby has not yet developed any talents or achievements. They do not even have the ability to give anything to us and yet we love them deeply and unconditionally. We love them for their very being.
Hashem’s essential love for every Jew runs deeper than our observance of Torah and Mitzvos. Hashem loves us because we each possess a soul which is a part of Him. Hashem’s deepest love is for no other reason than that we are.
In the sanctuary, the Menorah was placed on the south wall. The Shulchan stood opposite on the north wall. Both were near the curtain of the Holy of Holies on the West.
From the verse “And the Menorah should be opposite the Shulchan” we learn that nothing could be placed between the Menorah and the Shulchan. Even the incense altar which ...stood in the centre had to be positioned towards the east so that it would not obstruct.
Elsewhere when describing the lighting of the Menorah, the Torah teaches that the candles should shine אל מול פני המנורה. Most commentators explain that the wicks of the Menorah were positioned so that the flames all shone towards (מול) the central branch of the Menorah.
However Chizkuni takes a different angle. מול means opposite. The verse is teaching that the candles had to shine towards that which stood opposite (מול) the Menorah. The Menorah’s function is to illuminate the Shulchan.
Each morning we spiritually connect through prayer and Torah study, represented by the Menorah. We want to take this connection with us to illuminate and inspire us in our worldly pursuits and daily activities, represented by the Shulchan.
We have to make sure that nothing obstructs this flow of light so that our workday can also be radiated with the light of spiritual meaning and Divine purpose.
The Menora, a source of illumination, represents Torah study.
The Shulchan, which according to Kabbalah is the source of material success, represents working to procure our Parnasa.
Both of these vessels stood in the sanctuary and the Torah tells us how they were positioned;
"And you shall place the Shulchan on the outside of the curtain (to the Holy of Holies) and the Menorah opposite the Shulchan on the South side of the Mishkan. And the Shulchan should be placed on the north side".
In bringing the vessels in the sanctuary, the Torah refers first to the Shulchan and then to the Menorah. However when fixing their position, the Torah describes the fixed position of the Menorah (on the south) before that of the Shulchan (on the north).
The Chasam Sofer learns a powerful lesson: our physical needs come before Torah study for without Parnasa one will not be able to learn. The Shulchan comes first.
But, the "fixing" of one's Parnasa (the Shulchan) is dependant on their "fixing" times for Torah study (the Menorah). If we firmly "fix" times of regular Torah study, Hashem will "fix" a guaranteed and easily-procured Parnasa for us.
Hashem says to the Jewish people “if you will open for me (an opening) the size of the point of a needle, then I will open for you (an opening) like the doorway of the Ulam”.
The Ulam was an antechamber to the Heichal. The other doors and gateways of the Beis Hamikdosh were 20 Amos tall and 10 Amos wide (approximately 10x5 metres). The great doorway of the U...lam was double, standing 40 Amos tall and 20 Amos wide!
All of the other doorways had doors which would be closed. Due to its sheer size, there was no door in the entrance of the Ulam. The doorway was always open, with only a massive curtain to give privacy.
The point of a needle is infinitesimally small. In spiritual growth, if we make even the tiniest opening through our own efforts, Hashem will help us in an incomparably expansive measure. This gateway is always open. All we need to do is take the first smallest of steps.
Like the opening of the Ulam, Hashem’s assistance and His blessings of success will not only be expansive, but will flow directly to us, with no doors to stand in their way.