In order to accomplish his task, the officiating priest must stand at eye level so that he may work effectively, cleansing the lamps, placing new wicks and lighting them. But at 18 handbreadths, the menorah stands quite high. The priest ascended by way of three marble stairs which stood in front of the menorah, and lead up to where he could be level with the lamps, standing on the highest of these steps.
Three Steps - For Three "Ascensions"
These three steps correspond to three Biblical verses which mention "going up" in relation to the Menorah:
"And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and say to him, when you raise up the lamps, the seven lamps shall illuminate the menorah" (Numbers 8:1)
"And you shall make its seven lamps, and you shall cause its lamps to rise so that they shall shine towards its center" (Ex. 25:37)
"And you shall command the Children of Israel to bring you clear illuminating oil made from hand-crushed olives, to raise up a constantly-burning lamp" (Ex. 27:20).