The Menora would be lit each afternoon as part of the daily Avodah. All seven flames would be lit each night, but they were not all lit at once. The Kohen would first light five of the wicks. The Ketores would then be offered before the final two flames were lit.
What is the deeper lesson we learn from offering the incense in the middle of lighting the Menorah?
The Ketores represents the essence of the soul and its desire for and oneness with Hashem. With this desire, the Neshama seeks to transcend the world and cleave to Hashem.
The Menorah reflects the conscious levels of the soul, the כוחות פנימיים, which are very much within the world. The seven branches represent the seven Sefiros or Middos, the emotions of the soul.
These emotions are divided into two groups; the first five Middos are the primary emotions of the Neshama for its own Avodah. The final two, Yesod and Malchus refer to the soul’s ability to interact with and influence the world around it.
The ultimate objective is that the experience of oneness (the Ketores) not remain detached from the world and isolated in moments of spiritual upliftment.
We need to permeate our conscious day-to-day living (the Menorah) with the absolute awareness, connection and surrender to Hashem of the soul’s essence; not only in the holy activities of our lives (the five Middos) but also in our day-to-day worldly involvements as well.