The World Wide Ark

The internet grants us power beyond boundaries, more than many ever thought possible. Whereas before, doing research required deciphering the Dewey Decimal System and reading a myriad of books, we can Google something instantaneously to understand it. Aside from the boundary of time, it removed financial boundaries- cutting out the necessity to buy books, library memberships or travel costs to acquire information. A further boundary the internet has dissolved, however, is geographic.

The Torah tells us a strange law. As opposed to the Shulchan, mizbeach, or menorah inthe Temple, The Ark of the Covenant -the Aron Kodesh- constantly held the two transportation poles in it at all times. “The staves shall remain… they shall not be removed from it” (25:15). The Ark, which was only used one day a year, which stayed in place for years at a time, needed to keep the poles for carrying it attached at all times? Why?!

Based on Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch’s explanation, we can explain as follows: The Ark, which held the two sets of Tablets, represented the Torah of the Jewish people. As opposed to the other vessels, its relevance reached way beyond the Temple and even Israel. The Torah is accessible in every place one goes and in every situation. To express this, the Torah embeds its “transportation” qualities into its very definition. The poles were not there for functionality alone, to move it from place to place, but to represent that it can be taken everywhere at any time.

Much like the internet (and with the internet) the relevance of the Torah stretches beyond geographic boundaries. It applies in the Synagogue, in the home, at work, even on the playground. Its values are imbibed into all human interaction. As the Ark reminds us, the handlebars of the Torah are always available, we just have to be willing to grab hold wherever we take it.