The Navi Zechariah was shown a vision of a golden Menorah that was very different to the Menorah of the Beis Hamikdash.
In his vision, the Menorah had a bowl on its top. Coming out of the bowl were 7 pipes that fed into the 7 candles of the Menorah. On either side of the bowl stood an olive tree and an olive press.
Clusters of olives would fall from the trees into two golden presses which would crush the olives. The pure oil would flow into the bowl where it would collect. From there, it would flow through the 7 pipes to fill the 7 candles of the Menorah. All of this happened by itself without any human involvement.
The Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash needed human effort at each step. The olives needed to be harvested and pressed to produce the oil. There was no bowl and no pipes to automatically feed the candles. Every day the Kohen would have to refill the Menorah with fresh oil.
The difference between the 2 Menorahs reflects the difference between the experience of Geulah and during the time of Exile.
The Menorah of Zechariah was a Messianic prophesy. The G-dly revelations that we will experience in the time of the Geulah are so lofty that they are beyond our capacity to elicit. Like the oil in Zechariah’s vision, these revelations will flow by themselves from above, independent of our efforts. In Kabbalah this is called an Isarusa D’leila, an awakening that comes from above.
The Menorah of the Beis Hamikdash represents the pre-Geulah reality. This reality is a world of action where our efforts are imperative. During Golus, our work of refining physicality is constantly required to illuminate the world with the light of Hashem. This is referred to as an Isarusa D’lesata, an awakening elicited from below.
The Menorah of the Beis Hamikdash reminds us that while we are still in Golus, now is the time for action. What we do makes all the difference. Through our efforts, we will merit to experience the Menorah of Zechariah, when Hashem will fill the world with the light of the Geulah.
~ Based on Or Hatorah Vayechi p1120