“You shall command the children of Israel to bring you clear olive oil... to cause the lamp to burn continuously...”

-Tetzaveh 27:20

All seven branches of the golden menorah in the sanctuary were filled anew each day with pure oil. The “western branch” of the menorah burned miraculously much longer than all the others, beyond the norm of the oil it contained. This miracle was a Heavenly sign attesting to the Divine Presence in Israel.

We are told that Moses was puzzled by this menorah: he did not know how to construct it. G‑d then told him to simply cast the required amount of gold into fire and the menorah was made of itself. This raises a question: how did the menorah differ from all the other vessels made for the Sanctuary, that Moses was puzzled by it? In fact, Moses had been shown the form and structure of the menorah from Heaven, as it is written, “according to the pattern that was shown to you” (Terumah 25:40). Why then did he not know how to make it?

The menorah was made of gold, and it served the purpose of illuminating the darkness in a way that would demonstrate to the whole world that the Divine Presence dwells in Israel. This caused Moses to wonder: how can such a sublime thing be made of gold, of physical matter?

Says the Midrash: G‑d explained to Moses that indeed, humans are unable to produce such an object, and it is done by the Almighty. Man, however, must first take the gold and cast it into fire. G‑d will then mould it into a menorah that will radiate in the Sanctuary.

This teaches us the following:

The destruction of the Sanctuary affected only a physical structure of wood and stones. As for the sanctuary within the very core of every Jew’s heart, of which it is said “I shall dwell in their midst” (Terumah 25:8), it remains intact forever, in all times and under all circumstances.

When a Jew seeks to achieve the goal of transforming all his possessions into a Sanctuary for G‑d, he must take his gold-his finest and most precious thing-and make of it a menorah. The Almighty says to him:

“Your study of Torah, your prayers, your mitzvot-all these are not enough for Me. I demand of you that you also transform your physical possessions into a Sanctuary for Me. Indeed, you are unable to do so by yourself, thus I will do it. However, you have to cast the gold into the fire of your heart-[for within the heart of every Jew burns a fire for G‑d]-and then I shall mould it into a Sanctuary. Moreover, it will emanate light unto the world and be evidence of the Divine Presence that dwells in you!”

In establishing this menorah and sanctuary of our own, this will of itself bring about the new Sanctuary and menorah in Jerusalem that will come to us through Moshiach.