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 In this week’s Torah reading we are taught that the sons of Aaron, the priestly clan of Israel, were charged with the responsibility of keeping an eternal permanent flame burning on the sacrificial altar of the Temple. 

This miraculous flame appeared to form the image of a crouching lion on the top of that altar. This permanent flame was in addition to another permanent eternal light that emanated from one of the arms of the great candelabra of gold that was in the southern part of the Temple.
So, the question naturally arises as to why there were two permanent flames necessary for the Temple service to be considered proper and valid. There are no extraneous commandments or rituals in the Torah. Everything has a purpose and a meaning, a valuable lesson of eternal worth.
The great commentators of the Torah over the ages have advanced many different reasons for this duality, of two eternal lights burning permanently in the Temple.
One of the well-known approaches to understanding the Torah is to appreciate that there are many different layers of interpretation regarding any given commandment. That is what the rabbis meant when they said that sometimes the words of the Torah appear lacking in one context but will be rich and meaningful when viewed in a different light and context.
The two eternal lights in the Temple represent the two basic ingredients required in order to live a truly rewarding Jewish life. One is sacrifice. Were train ourselves to consider others, for the future and for different causes and goals. The selfish individual abhors the idea of sacrifice generally and of a lifetime of permanent sacrifice particularly.
Such a person never deals with the eternal and only lives in the temporary present. Such a life is eventually seen as without warmth and light. Life becomes a very cold altar of forced events, and the crouching lion of life’s events overwhelms all. 
It is the eternal light of sacrifice that makes life meaningful and human souls eternal. The other eternal light of the candelabra is meant to counter and remove the abyss of fear, superstition and emptiness. It is the knowledge of Torah that sustains us and grants necessary meaning to all human behavior and actions. Both eternal lights point our way towards building our own personal sanctuary of holiness and purposeful living.
Shabbat shalom
Chag kasher v’sameach
Rabbi Berel Wein

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