By MORDECHAI LEWIS
“You shall command the Children of Israel that they shall bring to you pure olive oil, that is pressed to… light a candle continuously.”
Why did the olive oil have to be pressed? Rashi says, “Only oil for lighting had to be pressed rather than ground because this oil had to be absolutely pure, without olive particles of sediment. Even though such impurities could be filtered out, later on, the sense of the posuk is that the oil had to be absolutely pure from the start…”
Similarly, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz says, “When a person tries to mix spirituality (i.e. Torah) and materialism, he will find out that they constantly compete for his attention…” In addition, one who accustomed to pampering himself with all forms of pleasure will have a hard time forcing himself to invest the necessary effort to acquire to true Torah knowledge.
What do a light and candle represent? King Solomon says, “For a mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light.”
Tamid means continually. Rashi says, “The menorah had to remain lit only from evening until morning, as stated in the next verse, but it was continual in the sense that it was kindled every single day without exception, even on Shabbat.” Torah isn’t something that one only learns when it’s convenient for him. For Avot tells us, “Do not say, ‘When I have free time I will learn,’ because you may not have free time.” As the Talmud say, “When they escort a person to his final heavenly judgment after his death, [the heavenly tribunal] says to him, ‘…Did you set aside fixed times for Torah study daily?’” That’s why the Talmud says, “Torah study requires constant strengthening.”