Pure and Simple by Rabbi Joel Grossman


In discussing the daily lighting of the Menorah, the Pasuk states (VaYikra: 24:4), “Al HaMenorah HaTehorah Ya’aroch Et HaNeirot,” “On the pure Menorah he should arrange the lamps.” Rashi presents two explanations for the extraneous word “HaTehorah.” The first is that the Menorah must be made of pure gold, and the other is that the lamps must be perfectly clean, pure, and clear of ashes before they are refilled.

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his Sefer Darash Moshe, writes that the reason the Torah repeats that the Menorah must be made of pure gold is to teach us that a person who enlightens others – for example, a Rebbe – must explain himself in a perfectly clear manner and behave in  a straightforward manner so that no one could question his actions. When I was in the Semichah program at RIETS, I asked one of my Rebbeim how I should prepare for a career in Jewish education. He advised me that when I learn with my Chavruta, I should always explain myself clearly and never say something along the lines of, "You know what I mean."

Therefore, the Torah requires that the Menorah should be made of pure gold; the oil should be so pure that even oil which once contained dregs is not valid; and the lamps must be perfectly clean in order to illuminate how clean and clear a Rebbe should be. A Rebbe must be clear in his understanding of his material, in the way he teaches it, and in his actions – the way he lives his life. The Gemara (Mo’eid Katan 17a) says, "If a Rav is like an angel of Hashem in your eyes, then seek Torah from his mouth." As teachers of Torah, we should understand this important message: that we must clean our own souls and  realize that we are role models to our beloved students, and, hopefully, will transmit the pure Torah to the next generation without any flaws.

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