In this week's Torah portion we find that Moses was puzzled about the appearance of the Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) until God showed him a replica of the Menorah made out of fire. Moses was able to conceptualize all of the other vessels of the Tabernacle, but somehow he had difficulty conceptualizing the complex shape and structure of the Menorah. Therefore, God formed a Menorah out of fire and showed Moshe exactly what the Menorah looked like. However, even that did not help. We know from another statement of the Sages that even after Moses saw the image of the Menorah, he still could not construct it. Finally, God instructed Moses to have Betzalel throw the gold into the fire, and the Menorah was created miraculously. The question must be asked: God knew Moses' capabilities. If, ultimately, God knew that Moses would not be able to construct the Menorah on his own, why did God ask him to do something that he could not do?
It was vital and crucial for Moses to see the shape and form of the Menorah -- even if he would not be able to duplicate it. A person must have a vision of what is required and expected. If one does not have the vision, he cannot even begin. One must have a dream, whether that dream can be realized and become a reality or not. The minimum that is absolutely necessary is the perception of a direction and goal. The initial image that God showed to Moses was the vision of the Menorah. Moses was then at least aware of the dream -- the ultimate goal. If later, Moses could not construct the Menorah himself, then God would help, but at least Moses knew what he was trying to accomplish. There are many things in life that are beyond our capabilities. We need the Help of Heaven to accomplish them. However, in order to be able to invoke the Help of Heaven and reach that dream, we must first possess the dream and the vision. This is what we learn from the verse: "See and construct, according to the image that I showed you on the mountain."
This week we are starting new classes and programs, and even if you have pushed off taking classes for years, don't push it off any longer. Please take a look at the newest program called Partners in Torah, and I hope you find something that speaks to you.