Not all of us are fathers. Nevertheless, I wish all those who celebrate Father’s Day, a very happy and fulfilling Father’s Day weekend. Some of us have fathers whom we can celebrate with and some of us do not. Some of our fathers are still with us in this world and some of our fathers have moved on to the world to come. Some of us have fathers who have taught us valuable lessons for life. Others of us do not. But, we all have Torah which can light our way as we celebrate and/or grapple with our relationships.
Our weekly Torah portion of B’ha’a’lotcha describes the Menorah that was lit in the Sanctuary, in ancient times. The Torah tells us that Aaron, the High Priest, was to light the Menorah in such a way that the seven candle llights of the Menorah shall cast their light toward the center of the Menorah. Three candles facing their right, and three candles facing their left. All six candles face the central candle, such that
the seventh candle (the middle candle) “informs” the other candles. And yet, the other six candles maintain their sacred and special light, just as children who are informed by their parents manage to maintain their own sacred and special light throughout their lives.
Rashi comments that Aaron was to light the candles until the flame arises by itself. This demonstrates to us what the influence of our parents, and of Torah, is in our lives. We learn from them, but at the same time, we retain our own sense of the image of God that is within each and every one of us. We are not simply a replica of those who inform our lives.
In fact, fathers (and mothers) can take a lesson from our Torah’s description of the lighting of the Menorah in the Sanctuary and strive to inform their children and inspire them in such a way that the children become independent, strong lights in their own right, even as they continue to honor their fathers (and mothers).
May we enjoy the light of the Menorah, cherish the good memories we retain of those who have gone to their eternal home, celebrate with those who are still present for us in our daily lives, and appreciate the gift of life and of love that both Torah and Father’s Day bring to our lives.
Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Father’s Day to all who celebrate it!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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