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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5781

Parashat Hashavua: Why Not Move the Aron? Hineni

Harav Yosef Carmel

As we have done several times in the past, we will try to look at yet another aspect of our great regard for the aron (ark) and its powerful religious significance.

When David Hamelech was fleeing from the rebellious Avshalom, many followers gathered with him. Tzadok and many leviim joined him, bringing along the aron to give support (Shmuel II, 15:23-26).

We see several telling phenomena at that time. First, there was great despair among David and his supporters, along with disappointment and frustration over the ingratitude of the rebellious son, Avshalom, and most of the nation who supported him. How could they turn their back on David, who had taken them from a low point, when Shaul was killed, to the highest level of success?

The arrival of Tzadok and the aron should have provided a major lift in spirit. The aron was the most “prized possession” of Bnei Yisrael, and there was a long legacy of how powerful it could be in battle. It was, after all, known as the “ark of the Lord upon which the Name of Hashem, Who dwells on the cherubim, was called” (Shmuel II, 6:2).The special standing of the aron finds expression in the Ramban (on Sefer Hamitzvot, Aseh 33) that only the making of the aron (not the making of any of the other vessels) was to be counted as a mitzva separate from the mitzva to build the mishkan.

Therefore, we might have expected that the arrival/support of two kohanim gedolim and the ark of the covenant would provide a powerful aura of sanctity to their group. Yet, David reacted differently, thus teaching us an important double lesson.

First, David had decided that the period in which the Divine Presence would be moved around was over. David instructed Tzadok, whom David told Shlomo should be the permanent kohen gadol as the beginning of a dynasty (see Yechezkel 44:15), to return the aron to Yerushalayim. Only Yerushalayim should host the aron. Once the Beit Hamikdash was built, “the Divine Presence would not move from the western wall.” This is why we accept the Rambam’s position that the Temple Mount remains holy even when the Temple has been destroyed.

David also is an exceptional role model regarding the power of belief. He explained to his followers that if Hashem is happy with his actions, He will return him to his throne and David would merit continuing to actualize his dream of turning Yerushalayom into the spiritual and political center of the Jewish people. But even if Hashem would not have brought success in the struggle against Avshalom, David would have accepted the divine decision without qualms (Shmuel II, 15:26). The key word in that context is “hineni” (here I am). That is the same word that Avraham employed when he was apparently called on to slaughter Yitzchak to do His will. That would have been the end of Avraham’s dream, but he was prepared to accept it if that were the divine desire. David tapped into that power of hineni.

Let us pray that Hashem will grant us success as the sons of Avraham Avinu and as the soldiers of the always living King David. In order for our prayers to be accepted, we too should declare: Hineni. Maybe then we will merit to witness the Divine Presence return to its place by the aron.

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