Parshas Terumah
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Parshas Terumah

Becoming Equal Partners in Torah

By Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum

The Torah tells us that the poles of the Aron must never be removed from the rings of the Aron. Even when the Aron is not being carried, the poles must remain inside of it. One wonders, therefore, what purpose could there be in having the poles inside the Aron when it wasn't being carried? What possible function could it serve? Why could one remove the poles from the Mizbeach or Shulchan but not the ones from the Aron?

A possible explanation may be as follows. The poles of the Aron represent those that support the Torah. By giving money and supporting the Torah institutions they are actually carrying the Torah. They became part and parcel of the Torah and therefore inseparable. They became one entity with the Torah itself. They cannot be taken apart! They too get a share in all the learning done in the Yeshiva they support. They become inseparable partners in all the Torah learning of each day.

The Gemorah tells us a story of two brothers, Shimon and Azaryah, who made a deal. Azaryah would go to work and share all his income equally with his brother Shimon, who would learn all the time. This was a true partnership. He wasn't just getting a share in his brother's learning, but was getting an equal share.

Certainly, if someone wants this type of partnership then he must actually give away half of his salary. Just giving 1/10 or 1/5 certainly is a great mitzvah, but, of course, does not make you an equal partner. If you want to have an equal share in the Torah then you must give away exactly one half of your earnings. This makes you a total partner, not just an investor. Another possible explanation can be that the main purpose of the poles of the Aron were so that people could hold on to it and thereby be lifted and carried by it. The Gemorah says "the Aron carried those who carried it". When the yidden crossed the Yarden and the Aron flew across , the Kohanim held on to its poles and were carried by it. The lesson here is that those who properly support the Torah are in turn also supported by the Torah, meaning that Torah supports it. It's a two-way street. You get back what you give.

It is a tree of life for those who hold on to her - and those who support her will become rich. The more tightly you hold on to it's poles, the higher it will lift you. Those who adhere to all it's teachings are lifted both spiritually as well as physically.

Another interesting Gemorah in Yoma about the Aron which teaches an important lesson is that the Aron had to be covered with gold both on the outside an well as on the inside. This is to teach us that a Talmid Chochom must act properly both outwardly as well as inwardly. Just giving a good impression on the outside is not good enough. Sometimes a person can put on a good show and people may think highly of him. But deep inside he is really corrupt. He is not really sincere. He doesn't really mean what he's saying. In simple English, we sometimes say, "He's full of baloney." Outside appearances can be deceiving. One must always make sure that his inside measures up to his outside. After all, the Aron had to be gold on the inside as well as on the outside.

A Yeshiva student must therefore always be that - his inside must be like his outside.

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