Rabbi Yonah Burr
Teruma: How to be Like the Ark
ועשו ארון עצי שטים אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו ואמה וחצי קמתו; וצפית אתו זהב טהור מבית ומחוץ תצפנו ועשית עליו זר זהב סביב; ועשית כפרת זהב טהור אמתים וחצי ארכה ואמה וחצי רחבה ועשית שנים כרבים זהב מקשה תעשה אתם משני קצות הכפרת
And you shall make an Aron from Shittim wood; two and a half amos in length, an amah and a half in width, and an amah and a half in height; and you shall cover it in pure gold both inside and out, and fashion a crown around; and you shall make a cover of pure gold, two and a half amos in length, an amah and a half in width; and you shall fashion two Cherubim of gold, hammered out, on both sides of the cover.
Our Sages draw several comparisons to ourselves from the Aron, home of the Torah. We, too, can serve as true receptacles for the Torah.
1. Why was the inside covered? The Aron was essentially a wooden box, encased in gold inside and out. That outside was gold is understan
dable, but why the inside? We can learn an important lesson from this. The way we present ourselves outwardly must truthfully reflect our inside as well. Although we are encouraged to inspire ourselves inwardly with outward action, if we present ourselves as pure, that must be how we really are.
2. Childlike Cherubim. The cover of the Aron was adorned with the iconic cherubim, statuettes, each with the face of a child. A child looks at the world with enthusiasm. Everything appears new, fresh, and ripe for exploration. We should personify this trait in our approach to Torah by feeling its importance and enthusiastically learning and living its values. Only with this attitude will we be properly inspired to continue our growth in Torah and mitzvos.
3. The Aron is open when empty. Rashi cites an interesting halacha. The Aron may never be covered unless the Luchos are actually inside. Until then, the box is to remain open. This teaches us that the beautiful Aron had no importance in its own right. It was completely there to serve the Torah and without it, the Aron is simply an open vessel. Our worth is similarly measured by our desire to serve Hashem and follow His Torah.
4. The crown. The Aron had a crown surrounding it, symbolizing that true honor is through the adherence to Torah.
May we once again merit having the Beis HaMikdash in our midst so we can truly absorb its lessons and feel the Shechina.
Have a wonderful Shabbos!