Hadrash Ve-Haiyun
Dor Revi'i

Torah Insights on the Weekly Parsha
by Efraim Levine

The Reisha Rav
HaGoan R' Aaron Levine zt"l
Author of
Hadrash Ve-Haiyan


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And you shall make two cherubim of gold – beaten shall you make them - from both end of the cover. (Shemos 25:18)

The above posuk introduces us to the cherubim. The Gemara relates that the image of the cherub was that of a child. The proof to this idea is from the observation that in Bavel a child was called “chrevaya,” a word phonetically similar to the word used by the Torah to describe a cherub. With this idea the commentators go further to suggest that the cherubim resting above the ark are symbolic of Jewish education.

It is noteworthy that in the holy-of-holies, there were actually three sets of cherubim. The first set were the above-mentioned cherubim that rested above the ark. The second set were the cherubim that were embroidered into the partition that divided the holy and holy-of-holies and the third set were the cherubim that were embroidered into the sections that served as the roof of the Tabernacle.

We may ask what is the Torah teaching us by requiring three different sets of cherubim. Perhaps we may suggest that just as the cherubim that rested above the ark clearly represent the pure angelic children immersed in their Torah study likewise the other two sets of cherubim represent Jewish children involved in their Torah education.

We may suggest that the holy-of-holies, in a symbolic sense, represents the Torah classroom. The only object found within is the Torah. Torah educators are well aware that not all students are alike. The cherubim that rest above the ark represent the students that excel in their Torah studies and are fit to dedicate their lives to full time Torah study. The cherubim that are embroidered into the partition that divides the holy and the holy-of-holies are symbolic of students who are not at the level of devoting their lives to full time Torah study but who are fit to serve the Jewish people in other holy spiritual roles. Just as the back of the partition faced the holy so too these students should be encouraged to serve the Jewish people in holy pursuits, such as communal leaders, activists and volunteers in holy causes. The third set of cherubim corresponds to those students that will serve the Jewish community through secular careers and other worldly pursuits. Just as the back of these sections faced the outside world likewise these students will pursue careers and occupations in the world at large.

By requiring three different types of cherubim to appear in the holy-of-holies the Torah recognizes that not all children are the same and fit into the same mold. Each child has his or her unique talents and mission in life. Jewish educators should be careful to direct and guide the student in his or her proper path. The only thing that all the cherubim do share in common is the fact that they are all part of the holy-of-holies. This conveys to us that Jewish educators should teach their students that whatever role they undertake in life, they should be guided and directed by their attachment to the holy-of-holies where the only object that exists is the Torah.