This week’s parashah is Tetzaveh and opens with the instruction to create an ever-burning light in the Tent of Meeting. This becomes the ner tamid, the eternal light.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson of the University of Judaism has written a powerful commentary on this symbol and its connection to Torah and Judaism in our lives. Amongst his words is the citation of a midrash, a commentary on the text.
The Midrash continues: “Just see how the words of the Torah give forth light to those who study them…. Those who study Torah give forth light wherever they may be. It is like standing in the dark with a lamp in hand; when you see a stone, you don’t stumble, nor do you fall into a gutter because you have a lamp in hand…. God said, ‘Let My lamp be in your hand and your lamp in My hand.’ What is the lamp of God? The Torah.
In our day, then, the lamp of God is the rich teachings of the Torah. God shines that light into the world, illumining the pitfalls and stumbling-blocks along the way. Through the guidance and discipline of the mitzvot, God offers us a path of sanity, profundity, and morality.
Go and Learn!