Paypal may have not existed at the time of Bnai Yisrael in the desert but the concept of a recurring donation did exist. Parashat Tetzaveh begins by explaining how Bnai Yisrael should continually bring forth olive oil to kindle the lamp of the Mishkan. The Midrash in Shemot Rabbah 36:1 gives two reasons as to why olive oil is God’s liquid-of-choice for the Menorah. According to the Midrash, just as an olive is pressed, and ground down in order to produce the oil for the light of the Menorah, so too did Bnai Yisrael have to undergo many hardships before being able to glow. Additionally, the Midrash explains that all liquids mix with each other except oil. So too, Bnai Yisrael did not mingle with other nations, as they maintained a system of monotheistic beliefs.
- Why do you think the authors of the Midrash sought to find a connection between olive oil and Bnai Yisrael?
- Which Midrashic explanation is more meaningful to you?
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