In this week's Torah reading we continue to follow the account of the consecration of the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle that would serve as the focal point of Israelite religion through the years of wandering in the wilderness. Through korbanot/sacrifices, God and the people would be drawn closer to each other.
An essential element of the Mishkan is the menorah, the lamp. God instructs Moses: "Command the people of Israel to bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, tokeep a lamp burning continually." The Neir Tamid, the eternal lamp that burns over every ark in every synagogue around the world is our fulfillment of this very verse.
Light is a powerful symbol of God's presence in our lives. The Israeli poet Shifra Alon helps us to treasure this divine light:
Not every day do we encounter God,
not every time is opportune for prayer,
not every hour one of grace.
We fail and fail again till journey's end.
We turn back only to lose our way
and grope in search of long
But God, holding a candle,
looks for all who wander,
all who search.
No matter how dark any given part of our journey may be, remember that God, "holding a candle," looking for all who search, is there to help us light our way. May you feel the warmth and embrace of God's light whenever you seek it.