Dvar for Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)
The second half of Parshat Emor recaps the Jewish holidays and ends the section by discussing the lighting of the holy Menorah and offering of the twelve holy loaves of bread (24:1-9). Just as the Menorah was to be made from one piece of gold, the twelve loaves of bread were to be made from one collection of flour (24:5), subsequently divided into equal measurements of two-tenths of an Epha (measurement) each. What is the significance of both the Menorah and the bread starting as one piece? Also, what is the significance of this discussion as the conclusion of the Jewish holiday recap?
Rav S. R. Hirsch explains that the Torah is helping us frame our perspective so that the holidays discussed previously produce the appropriate result. The Menorah and the twelve loaves of bread represent spiritual and physical prosperity, which can only happen when we start with one common goal and purpose. However, just having a common goal is not enough to achieve success. The Menorah will never have only one flame, just as each bread will always have a pair – 2 sets of six loaves, and each loaf made with two-tenths of an Epha (as opposed to one-fifth, which is the simplified fraction.) To achieve a common goal, and to observe the holidays appropriately, we must work together. When we care for each other as we care for ourselves, not only will we achieve our goals, but our experiences in attaining those goals will make them intimately more special.