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INSIGHT: 10 Big Miracles Let’s Do the Math

The Amazing Flame

The Amazing Flame

The Kohanim were always busy doing their holy work in the Mishkan. Even at night, there was work to be done, such as tending to the fire that burned on the Mizbei’ach at all hours. HaShem had commanded the Kohanim to make sure that a fire was burning Tamid – constantly – on the Mizbei’ach.

This constant fire burned all day and all night. In fact, miraculously the flame on this outdoor Mizbei’ach was never extinguished, even during a torrential downpour of rain!

Nowadays, we remember this constant fire, by having what we call a Ner Tamid, in our very own synagogues, a.k.a. shuls.

Nowadays, we remember this constant fire, by having what we call a Ner Tamid, in our very own synagogues, a.k.a. shuls.

It’s time for a Shazak Scenario which “sheds light” on the Ner Tamid:

Joe the Janitor, (a.k.a. Joe the Maintenance Engineer) was just hired as the caretaker at Congregation Anshei Kartofel. The first night on the job, Joe carefully goes from room to room, making sure that the windows are securely closed, and the lights are out. He walks into the main part of the synagogue and flicks the lights off one by one. But there’s one bulb in the front of the room that continues burning.

“That’s odd,” he mumbles to himself. “Is there a switch hidden somewhere? I can’t seem to find one.” He was about to give up, and then… “I know. I’ll call Shmerel the Shamash (caretaker).”

Quickly he rings the Shamash, “Ring… Ring…. Hey Shmerel,” he says. “It’s me, Joe, you know the a.k.a. Maintenance Engineer. I turned off all the lights in Anshei Kartofel, but there’s one light I can’t manage to turn off. Believe it or not, it has no switch!”

“Hmmm…” hmmmed Shmerel as he thought to himself. Finally, after two minutes of deep thought, “Oh Joe, is this light the one in the front of the synagogue, hanging right in front of the ark?”

“Yes, that’s it!”

“Oh, it’s called the Ner Tamid, the constant light, and we keep it burning at all times.”

“Why? Isn’t it a waste of money?”

“Well you see,” said Shmerel, “Over 2,000 years ago, we Jews had a Holy Temple, called the Beis HaMikdash, in Jerusalem. During the hundreds of years it stood, there was a fire that never burnt out – not even on Shabbos. Nowadays, we no longer have this Beis HaMikdash, but each of our synagogues, including our very own Anshei Kartofel, is a miniature version of that special place – a mini Beis HaMikdash. To remember this, we put up a constant light in the front of the synagogue. So, Joe, no need to worry about turning off the Ner Tamid!”.

“Thanks so much, Shmerel for that wonderful explanation. That sure will save me a lot of work… around 7 seconds every day!”

Hi! It's me.

Did you know that…

I am out of breath (huff… puff) 



Shazak insight

10 Big Miracles

Our wise Sages of the Mishnah, in a book called Pirkei Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) tell us of 10 amazing miracles that happened in the Beis HaMikdash. Two of them involved the pile of burning wood on the Mizbei’ach:

  1. The pillar of smoke that arose from the fire always went straight up, never to the sides, no matter how windy it was!
  2. The fire was never extinguished by the rain, not even during a violent rain storm!

What were the other 8 miracles?

Well, it’s time to get a copy of Pirkei Avos and look them up for yourself. (Shazak can’t do all the work for you!)

Shazak insight

Let’s Do the Math

How many years did the non-stop flame of the Mishkan burn?

Around 40 years would be a good guess since the Mishkan moved around in the desert for that length of time – and to be exact it was 39 years. But this answer is not exactly right. It’s false, mistaken, inaccurate, erroneous, untrue, and just plain WRONG. The fact of the matter is that once Bnei Yisrael entered the land of Israel after their travels in the desert, they kept the Mishkan there for many, many years.

Let’s do the math:

The desert – 39 years.

And four more places in Eretz Yisrael:

Gilgal – 14 years.

Shiloh – 369 years (that’s right… 369!)

Nov 13 years.

Givon 44 years.

Add them all up and you get – 479 years of the Mishkan standing and the Ner Tamid burning – that sure is a long time!

BTW: Miraculously, during all these years of continual fire, the thin copper layer of the Mizbei’ach never melted!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Did you know learning Torah could be this much fun?
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