Parshas Teruma: Who is Carrying Whom?

"In the rings of the Aron should be the staves. They should not be removed from it." (Sefer Shemot 25:14-15)

All of the major vessels used in the Mishkan had rings attached to them into which staves were inserted, by which they were carried. The commentaries question why the Aron HaKodesh was the only utensil for which the verse prohibits removal of the staves from the rings. Why were the staves a permanent fixture specifically for the Aron HaKodesh?

The answer offered by many of the commentaries is that symbolically the Aron HaKodesh represents the Torah, whereas the staves represent those who support the Torah. The verses are alluding to the inseparable bond between those who study the Torah and those who enable them to do so.

The Navi teaches that when Kind David sent for the Aron HaKodesh to be transported back to the City of David, tragically one of the men, Uzza, was fatally struck down. The oxen transporting the Aron HaKodesh stumbled and Uzza lurched forward to ensure that the Holy Ark not fall. Immediately he was struck dead. The Talmud explains that Uzza showed a lack of faith by assuming that the Ark would topple, for it was known that miraculously the Aron HaKodesh carried those who transported it and not the other way around.

The Sanctuary’s three walls were fitted together from 48 upright wooden boards, each of which was laminated with gold and held up by a pair of silver foundation sockets. The roof was formed of three layers of coverings: (a) tapestries of multicolored wool and linen; (b) a covering made of goat hair; (c) a covering of ram and tachash skins. Across the front of the Sanctuary was an embroidered screen held up by five posts.

Surrounding the Sanctuary and the copper-plated altar which fronted it was an enclosure of linen hangings, supported by 60 wooden posts with silver hooks and trimmings, and reinforced by copper stakes. 

The Scriptural mandate that the staves be permanently attached is teaching us a profound message. Although it might appear that those who support Torah are responsible for carrying it, in actuality, the reverse is true; the Torah elevates those who support it.

Rabbi Mordechai Shifman

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 Turning your home into a Santuary by Rabbi Mordechai Shifman שליט׳א