Have Poles, Will Travel – Parashat Terumah

February 14, 2018 at 2:45 AM , , ,

“….The poles of the ark shall be in the rings; they shall not be removed from it….” – Shemot 25:15

בְּטַבְּעֹת הָאָרֹן יִהְיוּ הַבַּדִּים לֹא יָסֻרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ – שמות כה, טו

The prohibition of removing the poles from the Aron, the Holy Ark, is explained in the Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 96) as a means of ensuring that the Aron is always ready for travel. “If they are made with no intention of ever being removed, they will be firmly fastened in place,” the Sefer Hachinuch explains. Otherwise, “in the event that we’ll need to urgently take the Aron some place, and in the hurry of the moment we might not check if the poles are properly secured, the Aron might, G-d forbid, slip from our hold.”

The concern for the Aron to be readily mobile teaches us an important lesson.

The Aron was home to the Luchos, which were inscribed with the sum total of the entire Torah. As our Sages explain, all 613 mitzvos of the Torah are incorporated within the Ten Commandments carved in the Luchos. Thus, the Aron is also a metaphor for Torah study, through which one makes a home for the Torah’s wisdom in his own mind and heart.

Holy Ark

The study of Torah requires intense concentration, and detachment from any outside concerns or distractions. This too is comparable to the Aron, hidden away in the Kodesh Hakadashim, the Holy of Holies in the Mishkan, which was off-limits to all but the Kohen Gadol (and even he, only once a year.)

The Aron teaches us, however, that one must always be readily mobile—even while wholly engrossed in the study of Torah. This means that our immersion in Torah study must be pervaded by a readiness and willingness to embark, if necessary, to bring the Torah to any Jew that it has not yet reached.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 16, pp. 334-335


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