Israel Forever

For the week ending 5 February 2011 / 30 Shevat 5771

Who is Carrying Whom?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The recent tumult in Israel over the issue of government support of family heads studying Torah full-time once again brought to the fore two opposite approaches to the value of Torah study.

In this week's Torah portion we read about the Holy Ark which was to be the repository of the Torah in the Mishkan Sanctuary. Staves of acacia wood covered with gold were to be inserted in the rings on the side of the Ark so that it could be carried as the Jewish People moved through the Wilderness.

It would appear then that it was the Levites who were carrying the Ark. But this was an illusion, for in truth it was the Ark which was carrying its bearers.

The Ark, our commentaries point out, represents those who study Torah and its bearers are those who support Torah study. Instead of viciously denouncing those who receive government support for Torah study as "parasites", appreciation should be shown to them carrying the government and securing Israel forever.

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