This week's parasha begins with the Jews being instructed to light the menorah in the mishkan (tabernacle). The Midrash says that G-d told the Jewish people that the lighting was not for His sake but rather to elevate them in the eyes of the other nations.
The Midrash continues with a parable. There was once a blind man and a sighted man who were traveling together. Throughout the trip, the sighted man assisted the blind man in every way possible. When they reached their destination, the sighted man requested that the blind man help him light a candle. The sighted man said that he did not want the blind man to be indebted to him; he wanted him to feel helpful as well. .
The Midrash continues that G-d took care of everything in the desert, and the menorah was His chance to 'allow' the Jewish people to do something. The question is, would one really feel better if he knows he's not really helping?
Rav Leibowitz explains with a very deep insight into human behavior. There are two types of kindness. One is kindness out of compassion: We feel bad for someone and we help him. The other is kindness out of love. When we receive this type of kindness, we don't feel bad. We feel that someone loves us. The sighted man in the Midrash was showing that what he did was out of love, and with the Menorah, G-d is showing us this as well.
May we all nurture good feelings towards one another so that we may be able to truly give!
Have a great Shabbos!
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Rabbi Naftali Karp
Every week Rabbi Karp sends out thoughts about the weekly Torah portion. Enjoy!