Shiur for parashas Tetzaveh 5781
“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil [crushed] for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. In the tent of meeting, [outside] the veil which is before the testimony.” – Exodus 27:20, JPS 1917 Tanach
Behind the veil (parochet), rested the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies (Kadosh Kadoshim). Outside of the veil, within the less holy area, called the Kadosh, were the Menorah, Showbread Table, and, the Mizbeach (incense altar), where incense was burned. Although these three were mentioned in detail, earlier in the Torah, the Menorah is mentioned, specifically, in the beginning of this parashas, with specific regard towards its function.
Of noteworthy mention is the specific command for all of Israel to bring the specific kind of olive oil reserved for use in the Menorah. In other words, all of Israel contributed to the olive oil that burned “from evening until morning.” It lit up the darkness, conveying in effect the light of G-d, that symbolically illuminates for us in times of darkness and uncertainty.
According to the sages, when discussing the significance of the phrase, “emet v’emuna (true and faithful),” in the evening prayer, the word, emuna, represents G-d’s faithfulness to us during the exile, inasmuch that it is a reminder that we will be redeemed. So, the nighttime, when this prayer is said, represents exile. Therefore, the light of the menorah, throughout the night, may also be understood as symbolic of G-d’s faithfulness towards us, during the current exile.