Lighting the menorah as an antidote to ‘hot’ stocks - opinion

Rashi explains the connection between the end of last week’s portion dealing with the princes bringing their offerings and this week’s beginning

 The snow-covered Knesset Menorah. (photo credit: ARIK BENDER/MAARIV)
The snow-covered Knesset Menorah.
(photo credit: ARIK BENDER/MAARIV)

In the beginning of this week’s Torah portion Beha’alotcha, we read that Aaron the high priest was charged with the daily lighting of the menorah. Rashi explains the connection between the end of last week’s portion dealing with the princes bringing their offerings and this week’s beginning. 

“Because when Aaron saw the inauguration of the princes, he felt badly about it, for neither he nor his tribe was with them in the inauguration. The Holy One Blessed is He, said to him, ‘By your life! Your role is greater than theirs, for you kindle and prepare the lamps.’” (Rashi on Bamidbar 8:2)

“Because when Aaron saw the inauguration of the princes, he felt badly about it, for neither he nor his tribe was with them in the inauguration. The Holy One Blessed is He, said to him, ‘By your life! Your role is greater than theirs, for you kindle and prepare the lamps.’”

Rashi on Bamidbar 8:2

The Ramban asks why God didn’t console Aaron by saying he gets to offer the twice daily incense, and/or he gets to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur? 

He suggests, “That the consolation offered to Aaron was not the fact that the high priest would kindle the menorah daily during the duration of the Temple service. Rather, the consolation was that the menorah would be kindled in all generations as a result of the heroism of Aaron’s descendants, the Hashmonean priests. In other words, the consolation alludes to the Hanukkah menorah that will continue to be lit, even subsequent to the suspension of the Temple service.

Rabbi Yissocher Frand writes, “This is saying that there are times in life when we do things in a non-dramatic fashion without a lot of fanfare, but those little things can last for generations, for centuries, even for millennia. Other times, we do things with great fanfare and great pomp and circumstance but those things are forgotten shortly and have no lasting importance. The sacrifices of the princes were offered with great pomp and circumstance, but they were a one-time affair, and it was only for the Mishkan [Tabernacle]. The Mishkan was eventually put away and the whole dedication ceremony had no permanent impact. Aaron’s kindling of the menorah was not only for now, not only for later, but for eternity.”

 Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Later in the summer, we read about the revelation of who will replace Moses as leader of the nation. As I have written previously, it would seem that the leading candidates to inherit the leadership position would either be one of the sons of Moses or Pinchas. 

One of the sons because leadership is often passed from father to son, and as it says, “Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen, turned back my wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged Me among them, so I did not consume the Children of Israel in My vengeance. Therefore say: Behold! I give him my covenant of peace.”(Bamidbar, 25:11-12)

“Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen, turned back my wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged Me among them, so I did not consume the Children of Israel in My vengeance. Therefore say: Behold! I give him my covenant of peace.”

Bamidbar 25:11-12

Leadership

SUCH BOLD and heroic action would certainly put him in the running for leadership, and the nation would get behind him as they were saved from death by his zealousness. In a  surprise, Joshua the servant of Moses is chosen. 

Rabbi Shalom Gold spoke at a grandson’s bar mitzvah and asked what quality Joshua possessed that merited his being chosen to lead? He answered that if you look at the juxtaposition of verses, immediately after his being chosen, we have the section that deals with the daily offering in the Temple, the Tamid. One lamb was offered in the morning and the second was offered in the afternoon. He said it’s the day-in-day-out commitment that is important in leadership, not a one-time heroic event.

Far too often, I get a phone call from a client asking for a “hot” stock tip. Much research has shown that the key to portfolio growth is asset allocation, or how you break up your portfolio into various assets, and not stock picking. In fact, data show that over 90% of all portfolio returns come from asset allocation. This means that stock picking has little impact on your investment returns.

Living within your means, saving and investing are the time-tested methods to achieving financial security. Slow and steady portfolio growth over the long haul makes all the difference. Trying to find the one stock to put all your money into in an effort to hit a grand slam and become a millionaire isn’t a well-reasoned financial plan. 

I’ve written before about a friend who during the go-go days of hi-tech in the late ‘90’s decided that he was going to put all his hard earned money into Nokia stock, and become a millionaire. Well, he made it to almost $800,000, the bubble burst, and 22 years later, the stock is still 90% lower.

I might sound like a broken record, but those who really keep their eye focused on the long term end up doing well financially. Sit down and define your goals and needs, and then invest with an allocation that will help you achieve those goals. 

Don’t get caught up in trying to time the stock market. Instead, buy quality assets and hold them. What you should do is forget about short-term market gyrations and focus more on reassessing your goals and needs from time to time.

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing. www.gpsinvestor.com; [email protected]