Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Terumah - 5778
THE CROWN FREE MENORAH
The four main vessels of the Mishkan- the Tabernacle- are the Holy Ark, the Showbread Table, the Golden Altar and the Menorah (candelabra). Three out of the four are described as having a Zer Zahav, or a crown. The Menorah is the only one of the principal vessels that does not.
In Pirkei Avot we are told by Rabbi Shimon that, "There are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of Kehunah (priesthood), and the crown of Kingship.” Commentators explain that the crown of the priesthood is represented in the Mishkan by the Zer Zahav of the altar, the crown of Kingship by the Zer Zahav of the Showbread table, and the crown of Torah by the Zer Zahav of the Holy Ark.
The Menorah, however, is a symbol of light, and not of a privilege that dons a crown. The light of the Menorah signifies the mission of the people of Israel, to illuminate and permeate the world with the values of Torah.