March 7, 2024 / 27 Adar I, 5784 • Parshat Vayakheil
Issue 811
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

The Ark of Inspiration

Betzalel made the Ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. 

Ex. 37:1

Betzalel directed the fashioning of all the Tabernacle’s furnishings, but the only time his name is mentioned with regard to a specific item is here, with the Ark. Rashi explains that this is because Betzalel not only directed the other artisans how to fashion the Ark but oversaw the execution down to its most minute detail.

The reason that Betzalel gave such special attention to the Ark was because the Ark was the main channel of revelation of the Divine Presence in the Tabernacle. As such, the Ark – more than any other vessel in the Tabernacle – expressed how the Tabernacle atoned for the sin of the Golden Calf.

Betzalel drew the inspiration and power for his selfless devotion to the work of the Ark from the example of his grandfather Hur, who was killed for opposing the making of the Golden Calf.

Similarly, the task of our generation is to bring G-d’s presence down to earth, thereby making the world into G-d’s true home. Just like Betzalel, we can draw the inspiration and power to accomplish this task with selfless devotion from the example of our grandparents and their generation, who in many cases had to exhibit self-sacrifice in order to study the Torah and observe G-d’s commandments.

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3