In parshas Terumah 25: 8 – 16 states: “They shall make a Sanctuary for Me – so that I may dwell among them – like everything that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its vessels; and so you shall do. They shall make an Ark of acacia wood, two and one half cubits its length; and a cubit and one half its width; and a cubit and one half its height. You shall cover it with pure gold from within and from without you shall cover it, and you shall make a gold crown all around. You shall cast for it four rings of gold and place them on its four corners, two ring on its one side and two rings on its second side. You shall make staves of acacia wood and cover them with gold; and insert the staves in the rings on the sides of the Ark, with which to carry the Ark. The staves will remain in the rings of the Ark; they may not be removed from it. You shall place in the Ark the Testimonial-tablets that I shall give you.”
Pusack 8 sets the foundational tone of the purpose of the making a Sanctuary for Me: that being – it is made for the purpose of fulfilling Hashem’s will of being a place where the (Shekina) Divine Radiance dwells and is revealed. “That I may dwell among them’– teaches each of us that in order to have the Divine Presence reveal itself within us we need to prepare ourselves a sincere pure place in our personal Sanctuary – that being are our transformed physical bodies allowing for the Divine Radiance connected to our (Neshoma) Soul to dwell within us. ‘Like everything that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of the vessels; and so shall you do’. That I show you is written in the present tense to teach us that continuously we must strive to build our Tabernacle and vessels anew, never resting on our laurels or being content with our past actions or efforts. The service of Hashem should always be seen and experienced as an ongoing inspirational growth and formation of renewing our personal Tabernacle. This requires us, in order to allow the presence of Hashem to be revealed within us, to break free of the bonds of physicality in both time and place transcending the finite thereby allowing ourselves to be unified with the Infinite.
“They shall make the Ark of acacia wood…”– The Ark which is the vessel containing the Torah was gold plated inside and out with the center made of acacia wood. Acacia wood symbolizes growth and development which parallels our need to be constantly striving to rise upward, however this species of trees was not fruit bearing perhaps symbolizing that it is not our work that makes us fruitful but only the blessing from Hashem. Gold plaited inside represents the sincerity and purity of our thoughts. The gold plaited on the outside parallels the sincerity of our efforts.
Pusak 12: ‘You shall cast for it four rings of gold and place them on its four corners…and insert the staves in the rings on the sides of the Ark, with which to carry the Ark. The staves shall remain in the rings of the Ark; they may not be removed from it.’ Rav S. R Hirsch expresses beautifully that the permanent presence of the staves symbolizes the concept that the Torah is not tied to any one place; wherever Jews go, willing or otherwise, our Torah goes with us, for the means of its transport is always attached to it. We also need to feel this way in our connection with the Torah that we are always attached to it no matter in what place or circumstance we find ourselves.
The Cazal tell us that the Ark carried itself and those around it only looked like they were carrying it. This message travels with us through every moment of life. The Torah is eternal and emanates directly from her Infinite source. When we willingly accept upon ourselves to walk in the ways of the Torah – meaning guarding its precepts and fulfilling its commandments then Hashem will help us see who really “carries” us through life. May we merit to come close and travel with the Torah of Hashem that will light up the darkness paving a clear path leading to redemption, love and peace.
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