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Good Morning.

Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lamp stand. On the lamp stand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. (Exodus 25:33-34)

Previously we mentioned that the center lamp in the menorah is unique in that it is considered to be the source of light for the other branches. Moreover, Jewish tradition teaches that the six lamps on the outer branches had wicks that would cause the flames to burn inwardly toward the central branch as if directing emphasis toward the center lamp. Thus, this particular tradition underscores the notion that the six branches show deference to the main lamp — there is something about it that is intended to grab our attention,.

In that vein consider our Scripture today. The bowls or cups that were arranged on the branches of the menorah total 22 — three on each of the six branches and four on the main branch. Interestingly, there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, corresponding to each of these bowls on the menorah — is there a connection? According to Jewish tradition, there is most certainly a connection and a fascinating one at that.

Legend has it that the bowls were inscribed with the 22 letters of Hebrew alphabet. Starting from from the right to the left, three were inscribed on each of the first three branches, four on the central branch and three on each of the remaining branches. The result of this would mean that the bowls on the central branch would be inscribed with the letters יכלמ yod, kaf, lamed and mem. These four letters spell the word יכלם y’khalem which means “He will make them whole.”

This is the branch considered to be the source of light for the other branches. This is the lamp that represents the One who stands in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks and it is He who makes us whole. It is He who will restore all and bring God’s enemies to heel and cause Jerusalem to be a praise in the earth. And just in case there is any doubt who He is, if one were to read the four letters on this branch of the menorah in reverse order — מלכי mem, lamed, kaf and yod — you would see clearly. The letters arranged in this way spell the word malkhi — “my King.” No wonder the light from the other branches deferred to this branch in reverence — they acknowledged that the source of light is the Master of all. Likewise, let us recognize Him today as our King and bow to His will in acknowledgement that He alone deserves all honor and glory.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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