This week’s Parsha, Terumah, details the intricate instructions of building the Mishkan, a sanctuary for G-d, complete with utensils used for His service. Of all the items, however, only two were to be sculpted of one piece of gold: The Keruvim (the golden angels that rest on top of the ark cover), and the Menorah (the candelabra to be lit daily, with its six branches), complete with upside down goblets, knobs and flowers along its many stems (25:31-37). What was so special about the Menorah that required it be made of one piece of gold, when even the Ark itself didn’t have that same requirement (25:10-11)?
Rabbi Israel Greenberg suggests that the branches represent different segments of the Jewish nation, and the ornaments on each stem represent diverse approaches of understanding the Torah, and that all people and all approaches contribute to a single goal of illuminating the world. Moreover, the upside down goblets represent not receiving liquid, but supporting the flame of our Torah. The knobs resembled apples, representing the sweetness found from within, and the flowers symbolize the novel insights that we discover hidden within the Torah text. All these factors represent all that the Torah has to offer, but only when they function as one unit, one segment of people inspiring another, and one form of study celebrating the other. We are all different, and those differences make each of us unique and golden, if we act as a cohesive group of people.