[Webmaster's note: This report was written by Leon Gork, a tour guide who writes about places he has visited. Leon was very helpful to the BikeAbout team while they were in Israel, and has graciously allowed us to make his work available to you on the BikeAbout site. The opinions expressed in this report are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BikeAbout.]

The Menorah

(20/3/98) Many legends are told about the Menorah, but the one which, in my opinion, best describes its function is the one that tells us how it used to burn day and night in the Temple and when the Temple was destroyed the light of the Menorah was extinguished. Since then the Jewish people and the world are living in darkness.

The Menorah was a symbol that the spirit of G-d dwells in the universe and illuminates it. The fact that it had to burn by day and night is another indication that it was a symbol. If it was only a physical light it would have been necessary only at night.

The seven branches are possibly a symbol of the days and nights of the week. Reminding us that with the spirit of G-d in us we have strength to create, our days and nights are filled with the light of the spirit of G-d. Without the spirit of G-d our days would be as dark as our nights.

The power of the spirit of G-d is described by the prophet Zacharia in seven words, corresponding with the seven branches of the Menorah, "Not by might and not by power but by My Spirit saith the L-rd of hosts."

With the destruction of the Temple and the extinguishing of the Menorah the symbol of the Menorah has disappeared. Man tends to think that the spirit of G-d has disappeared as in the legend from the Talmud. In fact the spirit of G-d is still with us only the symbol has disappeared.

The spirit of G-d helps us all the time, only we don't acknowledge that the spirit of G-d is helping us. We interpret our help as "a flash of inspiration" or a "flash of light".

I remember often, as a child, in South Africa, being threatened by boys bigger than myself. Usually I was so scared I was frozen into inaction and ended up getting a beating. Sometimes, however, a "flash of light" inspired me to overcome my fear. Suddenly I felt free to decide whether to run and escape or stand and fight. If I chose to stand and fight I still got beaten up but the feeling was much better. I felt like a hero. If I chose to run I avoided a beating.

I didn't acknowledge the "flash of inspiration" as the spirit of G-d. If we rekindle the Menorah it would be an empty symbol because mankind doesn't acknowledge "the flashes of inspiration" which help him out of difficulties as being the spirit of G-d. Rekindling the Menorah isn't going to bring about this acknowledgement. Man will have to reach that by himself then he can rekindle the Menorah as a symbol of acknowledgement that "the L-rd He is G-d".

Leon Gork (Tour Guide)
P.O.Box 4354 Jerusalem 91042
Tel/Fax 02 5810732....Cel.053 801867/823905
Treasurer:Jerusalem for Bicycles

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