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One mission at a time

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

All of us are familiar with turning to our cell phones simply to check our e-mail, only to notice that we have received several WhatsApp messages. After engaging in multiple chats simultaneously, we check our bank account and catch up on the news without being aware that we have been glued to the screen for a while. Meanwhile, the reason for which we checked our phones is forgotten.
In this week's Torah portion, there is a set of instructions on how to light the lamps of the menorah in the Mishkan (and later the Holy Temple): As Rashi comments: "He (Aharon or the Kohen Gadol) is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises on its own." Moreover, the Kohen Gadol (HIgh Priest) cannot continue to the next lamp until the first lamp is properly lit.
Chani Weinrot of blessed memory expressed her understanding of the obligation of the lamplighter as follows: He has to work slowly, with patience, to light one lamp after the next, but not run ahead to the next lamp until the previous mission of lighting is complete. He does not jump between two different tasks at once.
In an era in which technology brings about more distractions all the time, constantly interrupting our focus, the lighting of the menorah teaches us to move ahead one step at a time, with moderation, concentration, and rapt attention to the immediate task at hand.


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