In the third part of our parsha, “Shlishi”, the Torah deals with the making of the menorah, after speaking about the ark and the show-bread table. Let us begin by looking in the order of the commandments to build the mishkan.
The torah begins with the ark, this is a logical beginning- from the middle, the Holy of Holies, and from there we move out, first to the “kodesh”, with three parts, the menorah, the show-bread table and the golden alter. The menorah is in the south, closest to the Holy of Holies, and the table in the north – further away. This is the basis for the famous saying of our Rabbis:
He who wishes to be clever should go south, and who wishes to be rich should go north
The menorah, with its olive oil, represents wisdom, and stands in the south whereas the table, on which was put the show-bread every week symbolizes wealth and stands in the north. This leads us to a question – why does the torah speak first about the table, which is further away from the ark, and only after that about the menorah?