Israel Forever

For the week ending 3 March 2007 / 13 Adar I 5767

The Need for Purity

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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In front of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, stands an impressive reproduction of the Menorah, a gift from the British people to the Jewish State in whose establishment their government played a role.

This week's Torah portion begins with the command to light the lamps of the menorah in the Mishkan Sanctuary with "pure olive oil". The insistence on the fuel for the menorah being of the finest quality is a reminder of this candelabra's purpose to generate a spiritual light for illuminating the world with sanctity and wisdom.

In a time when so many of the politicians in the Knesset are under investigation for corruption, it is ironic to see outside that stately building a menorah representing purity rather than power.

The maftir read this Shabbat begins with the word zachor and contains the Torah command to recall the utter corruption of the Amalekite nation and the need to eliminate it. Even if we are as yet unable to carry out this order, we are expected to eliminate whatever corruption exists in our own circles.

Not only the leaders but also the people who elect them must seek to eliminate corruption and to learn the lesson of purity expressed by the menorah in order to secure Israel forever.

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