Thursday, February 22, 2007

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Above the Top

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

“I shall speak with you from atop the Cover, from between the two Cheruvim that are on the ark . . .” [i]

The Mishkan served the nation for over four hundred years and was replaced by the First Temple, which was destroyed. Next came the Second Temple, which also was destroyed. Soon, (God-willing), there will come the Third Temple, which our sages say will not be destroyed. As quoted above, God told us that it is from within this place that He would speak with us.

But are we to believe that since the Mishkan and Temples are gone that we have no place to go in order to hear God speak to us? God forbid.

Remember, for the Torah to be more than a mere history book, somehow the Mishkan and the Temples had to be physical enactments of our individual spiritual lives. So even today, there must be some place we can go to hear Him speak.

In the heart of the Mishkan was the ark. Inside the ark were placed the tablets of the Commandments. Above the ark were the two Cheruvim. These were two angel-like forms made out of gold. One of the Cherubim had the face of a male child, and the other a female child. They had wings somewhat like birds. It was from there, above the ark and between those Cheruvim, that God would speak.

When the sages teach, “Let everyone be involved in the ark,” [ii] we learn that not only do each of us have a share in the Torah that the ark houses, but that each of us has a share in the ark itself. Since we keep the Torah in our heads or minds, this shows that the ark must represent this area of our body.

Above the cover of the ark (but one with the ark cover) are the Cheruvim, two entirely spiritual representations. We see that they are entirely spiritual since they have human faces and angels’ wings. Their form is of creatures that do not physically exist.

Since we are told that it is from between these two Cheruvim that God speaks to us [iii] this must somehow be a metaphor for God and us. Most obviously, we do not take this illustration literally. God is not depicted anywhere in any way, let alone as an angelic being.

However, in order to guide us in our approach to God, we are shown the image of two spiritual youths, one male and one female, facing each other with their wings outstretched and touching at the tips. Imagine how these two would speak and listen to each other, and this is how we should speak to and listen to God - “A still small voice.” [iv]

And the deepest thought on this is that the ark cover and those two entities are made out of a single piece of material. They are two only in their form, but of their being, their actual make up and essence, they are one. These two “beings” speaking to each other are really one.

[i] Ex 25:10
[ii] Shemos Rabbah 34:3
[iii] Ex: 25:22
[iv] 1 Kings 19:12

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.

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