By: Alexa Szafranski (11th Grade)
In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Beha’alotecha, we learn about the Menorah. The phrase "בהעלתך את הנרת" meaning “When you kindle the lamps....” (8:2) is used to describe the lighting of the Menorah. Rashi, however, has a question on his adaptation of this phrase. He explains that the word “beha’alotecha,” which literally means “when you step up,” is used because there was a ma’aleh-step in front of the Menorah where the Kohen stoof when he prepared the oil and wicks. Yet the height of the Menorah was only three Amot, which is around five feet, so why did Aharon or any other Kohen need to stand on a step in order to reach the top?
We can see the answer to this question specifically from Aharon, the Kohen Gadol. As Kohen Gadol, he needed to wear the tzitz-a head plate. According to Halacha and more specifically the Rambam, it is forbidden for the Kohen Gadol to raise his hands above the Tzitz. Therefore, it was necessary to have a step in front of the Menorah, so that the Kohen Gadol could light the Menorah without raising his hands above the Tzitz.
From this we see the the holiness of the Kohen Gadol, as well as the consideration of Hashem. The fact that Hashem thought to include this shows how even when He is strict on us, He does not want to restrict us from doing the best we can for Him. With that, we can further understand that Hashem will never put an impossible challenge in front of us, and He will only challenge us with what He knows we can succeed with.