Hide and Go

June 10, 2016 at 4:44 AM , ,

“…When the camp is about to travel, Aharon and his sons shall come and take down the dividing curtain, and they shall cover the Aron of Testimony with it. They shall place upon it a covering of tachash skin and on top of that they shall spread a cloth of pure blue wool…” – Bamidbar 4:5-6

וּבָא אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו בִּנְסֹעַ הַמַּחֲנֶה וְהוֹרִדוּ אֵת פָּרֹכֶת הַמָּסָךְ וְכִסּוּ בָהּ אֵת אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת: וְנָתְנוּ עָלָיו כְּסוּי עוֹר תַּחַשׁ וּפָרְשׂוּ בֶגֶד כְּלִיל תְּכֵלֶת מִלְמָעְלָה  – במדבר ד, ה-ו

One of the tasks of the kohanim was to prepare the vessels of the Mishkan for travel by covering them in specially designated covers and sacks. The Torah describes how they would place the Aron in the three distinct coverings. First, theywould drape over it the paroches (the dividing curtain that hung before the Kodesh Hakadashim). On top of the paroches, they would place a covering of tachash-hide. Finally, they would place the Aron in a sack made of blue wool.

holy ark

Like the Aron in transit, the holy soul imbued in every Jew—“a veritable part of G-d Above” (Tanya, Chapter 2)—is subjected in this world to numerous layers of concealment and suppression. The soul strives to live an exclusively G-dly life, yet its physical body has a never-ending list of physical needs and demands that must be met. In addition, the G-dly soul is competing against the “animal soul,” our character traits that are based on ego and selfish lust. If that weren’t enough, the Jew is surrounded by secular and unholy influences that obscure his perspective of right and wrong, placing yet another obstacle in the way of his G-dly soul’s dream.

Considering all the disadvantages that the G-dly soul faces, one begins to wonder, what purpose is there at all to this virtually impossible challenge?

The Torah answers this question with its description of how the Aron traveled. When Bnei Yisrael were camped, the Aron stood in the Mishkan in all its glory. Yet no less than three coverings concealed the Aron when it was time to travel. Likewise, we must never allow our challenges in the service of G-d to cause us to despair. For, on the contrary, the attempts at suppressing our G-dly soul are what present us with the opportunity to soar and thrive in our union with G-d, to an even greater degree than we ever enjoyed before.

—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 8, pp. 18-20


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