motzei Shabbos: parasha Tetzaveh 5783
(based on Likutei Amarim – beginning of ch.29)
The light of the seven-branched menorah in the Mishkan (portable tabernacle of the desert was like the original light (ohr chadash) of creation, even before the sun, moon, and the stars were created. How so? First of all, the mishkan itself is likened to a microcosm of the world. This is derived by the sages, who noted the parallel language between the creation narrative, and the building of the Mishkan. Additionally, the accoutrements of the miskan are likened to aspects of the soul. Hence, it follows that the menorah may be understood as symbolic of the light of the soul: “The spirit of man is the lamp of the L-RD” (Proverbs 20:27, JPS).
The Tanya references the teaching from the Zohar, concerning chochmah, a window within the soul, whereof the divine light may shine through, if we do not “pull down the shades,” so to speak by way of darkening our minds and tainting our soul with the stains of our aveiros (sins). Thus, if we are unable to let the light shine through, the Tanya recommends, based on a passage in the Zohar, that we may seek to “crush” our egos, through introspection, resulting in alleviating the darkness that obscures the light in our souls.
“True sacrifice to G-d is a contrite spirit; G-d, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart.” – Psalms 51:19, JPS 1985 Tanach