Ner Tamid — The Everlasting Light
“Pure, pressed olive oil for illumination, to kindle the lamp continually” (27:20)
In last week’s haftarah it says that King Shlomo made the windows of the Beit Hamikdash wide on the inside and narrow on the outside (Melachim 6:4). Usually the reverse would be correct: The windows should be broad on the outside to let in as much light as possible, but narrow on the inside to focus and concentrate the light.
Why did King Shlomo depart from normal building practice?
The Beit Hamikdash was not in need of light. The world needed its light. The two Batei Mikdash illuminated the world with spirituality.
The first Beit Hamikdash stood for 410 years. In Hebrew we would write that as ת"י. The second Beit Hamikdash stood for 420 years — ת"כ. Those four letters spell the word, “כתית”, meaning “pressed.”
“Pure, pressed olive oil for illumination, to kindle the lamp continually.”
Even though the light of the first two Batei Mikdash was “כתית” — it was ‘pressed’ into only 420 years — the Third Beit Hamikdash will “kindle the lamp continually”. It will radiate light to the world forever.
- Sources: based on Toldot Yitzchak in Mayana Shel Torah