One of the steps in the order of the morning Tamid was Hatavas Haneiros. According to the Rambam, this refers to the lighting of the Menorah. Other authorities maintain that the Menorah was only lit in the afternoon. The Hatavas Haneiros in the morning was the cleaning and preparing of the Menorah with new wicks and oil to be lit in the evening.
When the Menorah was prepared or kindled, not all seven lamps were done at once. The Kohen who was tasked with preparing or lighting the Menorah would do five of the lights. A different Avodah would be performed and then the Kohen would complete the remaining two candles.
According to the sages, the Avodah that made the separation was the offering of the Ketores.
In Chassidus, 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, which are very much within the world. The seven branches represent the seven 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 (the final two Middos).
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