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“And you shall make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: its shaft, and its branches, its bowls, its bulbs and its flowers, shall be of the same” (Exodus 25:31).
Rashi explains that it was hard for Moshe to understand how to make the menorah. G-d said to him take this metal and throw it into the fire and it will form and come out by itself. Why was making the menorah so difficult for Moshe because we see by the cherubs and the covering for the ark were complicated and Moshe didn’t complain that it was difficult.
Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit’a explains in Chochmah v’Da’as that a mitzvah is compared to a candle and Torah is compared to light and even with hard work and tremendous effort, a person will not understand Torah properly without heavenly help! This is what we say everyday in our prayers “for the sake of our forefathers that trusted in You and You taught the decrees of life, may You equally be gracious to us and teach us”.
This means that our forefathers did not just rely on what they learned but they believed in You because You gave them heavenly help to understand Your law! This is what it means over here. Moshe was commanded to make the menorah which is compared to Torah and mitzvos. It is impossible for one to learn this on their own and a person needs special help from heaven to understand it! This is why G-d says to him you put the metal in and it will come out and form itself.
We need to put ourselves in the right direction to acquire Torah and keep the mitzvos but we merit this as if it happens automatically which is through the heavenly help that G-d gives us to be able to understand it! This is why the third paragraph in the Shemoneh Esrei (silent meditation, amidah) we ask for knowledge and understanding. If we wouldn’t ask for it, we would be dummies?
The answer is that we are seeking spiritual knowledge and that does not come easy. Understanding G-d’s world and what He wants from us is tremendous work and even if we were all geniuses, we wouldn’t fathom very much unless He wills it to us. There are things in the Torah that do make sense with our own understanding but at the same time we have to realize that it is the written word of G-d.
Even what we do understand, we are only scratching the surface of what the Torah is. There are multiple levels of learning and we build on what we know through more learning. The issue is that the Torah is so vast and deep, we could know the same stories from the Torah but the more we learn and understand we look at them anew in a totally different way. After a lifetime of doing this, we realize how small we really are and how little we have really uncovered. If that isn’t eating humble pie I don’t know what is.
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