Dvar Torah Parshat Terumah 5772 2012

The construction of the Mishkan and the various items that are to be included in it are described in great detail. One of the items is הָאָרֹן, or the Ark. The Torah calls this ark אֲרוֹן הָעֵדֻת, “…the ark of testimony…”.(Ex.25,22) Why is the Ark given this name?

The Torah itself answers this question. It gives two reasons. First, Moshe was told: וְנָתַתָּ אֶל הָאָרֹן אֵת הָעֵדֻת, “You shall place in the Ark the Testimony…”. (Ex. 25,16) The tablets of stone, containing the Ten Commandments, were to be placed in the Ark. These tablets serve as the testimony that our people stood at Mt. Sinai and heard Hashem proclaiming the commandments by which we Jews have lived for centuries. This is one reason why the Ark was given the designation הָעֵדֻת or “testimony”.

The Torah gives us another reason. וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the Ark cover…” (Ex. 25,22) The Ark is thus being designated as the meeting place between Hashem and Moshe who represents the Jewish people. This is another explanation why the Ark was called הָעֵדֻת or “testimony”. The name is so designated to remind us of a past event and to emphasize our closeness to Hashem.

Interestingly, the three major Jewish holidays are also called in the Torah מועדים and in singular מועד or “testimony”. The word הָעֵדֻת and מועד stem from the same root, עד, meaning “testimony”. We celebrate these holidays to remind us or to testify to the fact that Hashem took us out of Egypt. On each of these holidays, when the Temple stood in Yerushalayim, the Jews were instructed to journey to the Temple and to appear before Hashem.

The holidays serve the same purpose as the Ark. They testify about events of the past and demonstrate our closeness to Hashem.

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