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Dena Weiss. Parashat Tetzaveh opens with the commandment to illuminate the mishkan. This light spares no expense and actually serves very little function. It is to be lit constantly. This includes during the night, when no one is serving in the mishkan, as well as during the day, where natural light could have been used instead. And God insists that the lamp oil is to be of the highest quality, though it is only being used as fuel. Through its golden construction and its costly upkeep, the menorah (lamp) becomes a focal point for how to understand and think deeply about the economics of the mishkan. How are we to understand its lavishness and expense? On the one hand, God deserves only the best, but on the other hand, is the best that we bring to God our material possessions? Is the most expensive way to serve God the only or best way to serve Him?

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