Tuesday, 03 Mar 2009

Written by Rabbi Dr Michael Shire

In the continuation of the establishment of the mishkan in this week’s Torah portion, we are introduced to that which is continuously present and we note someone who is strangely absent. We read of the instruction to bring clear oil of beaten olives for lighting the ner tamid – translated variously as ‘a flame that burns perpetually’ (Jerusalem Bible) or ‘a lamp constantly burning’ (Living Torah) and in the Jewish Publication Society as ‘the kindling of lamps regularly’ (JPS) – Tamid referring to the continual act of keeping the lights lit from evening to morning. The emphasis here is on the necessity to regularly tend to the lights that symbolically represent God’s presence in the sanctuary.

The views expressed in this D’var Torah do not necessarily reflect the position of Leo Baeck College.