Tetzaveh - Puddle Potential

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The Parsha begins with the pasuk saying the Bnei Yisrael should bring “olive oil crushed for the light” (27:20). The Gemara in Menachos (53b) makes the famous comparison that we are compared to olives. And when crushed these olives release their highest potential; oil, for lighting the Menorah. So too the Jewish people, when we are crushed by the world around us it is only to bring us to actualize our potential and extract that holy spirituality latent within each of us to the surface. To illuminate this world. If one is a pyromaniac they may try to light a puddle of olive oil only to find out unlike gasoline it does not burst into flames. And if you ever lit a wick without it being in oil, it could burn, but not for long. Therefore in order to successfully light a lamp we combine the oil with the wick. The same goes for creating a spiritual illumination in our lives; olive oil is compared to the soul and the wick to physicality. If we try to create light in our life from just being spiritual we will find no light at all, only a slick puddle to slip down on. If we try to create light from just being physical we burn out quickly, leaving ourselves in darkness again. So the solution is to strike the balance between spiritual and physical, to combine the oil and wick in order to ignite something great in ourselves.

The Gemara (Menachos 86b) tells us that the pasuk specifically says “crushed for the light” in order to exclude this oil being used for Menachos, a specific karban. Perhaps we can learn from the Gemaras exclusion, how we are to deal with these crushing challenges. The word “Menachos” is related to the word “Noach”, to dwell. This can teach us that a person who is troubled, and feels that crushing weight on them should not allow that potential being revealed by his challenges to make him dwell on the challenge – to puddle up and not move along. Rather he should be joyous and search out a way to actualize his potential. We must remember that whenever we feel this feeling of challenges, obstacles and tests we should not be focused on all that is weighing us down. Rather we should look at it as an opportunity to find our potential and utilize it to illuminate our spiritual lives. The purpose of these challenges is for the light, not for stopping and saying every time I try to go higher I get pushed back harder. That pushback is what releases our potential, and utilizing our potential is what illuminates our path to a greater level of Avodas Hashem.