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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states: “Cover (the ark) with a layer of pure gold on the inside and outside and make a gold rim all around its top” (Ex. 24:11).

Why was it necessary to cover the ark with gold on the inside?

The Talmud (Tractate Yoma 72b) comments that from here we see symbolized that a Torah scholar must be pure inside as well as outside to be considered a Talmid Chochom, a Torah scholar. That is, just as the ark which symbolized Torah knowledge had gold on both the inside and the outside, so too a torah scholar is not someone who just speaks wisdom on the outside, but he must also internalize his wisdom and live with it.

There have been many intellectuals throughout the ages who have espoused profound philosophical ideals. They have expressed the most elevated thoughts of universal love for humanity. However, in their own private lives they have been arrogant and cared only for their ideas, but not for the people with whom they actually had to deal with on a daily basis. This is not the Torah concept of a Talmid Chochom, Torah scholar. To be considered a true Torah scholar and not merely someone who carries a lot of book knowledge with him, one must practice the lofty ideals that he speaks about. This has held true for all our revered Torah scholars both in ancient and modern times.

Our lesson: Whenever you speak about lofty thoughts, ask yourself whether you actually follow the principles you speak about. If not, do not stop speaking about those ideals, rather you should elevate your behaviour.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony