This week, I write in memory of Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, US Army Chaplain and former Scoutmaster, one of the Four Chaplains who gave up their lives saving others in the sinking of the troop ship USS Dorchester, February 3, 1943.
In this week’s parasha, Terumah, we learn about the beautiful items used in the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – during our sojourn in the Wilderness and later in the Temple.
- The Menorah, a seven-branched candelabra, made from a single mass of gold. Each branch was fashioned into several cups, capped by a knob, and finished with a flower. Special very pure olive oil was burned in the hollow space of the flower.
• The Golden Mizbeach (Altar) on which incense was burned.
• The Shulchan(Table) made of acacia wood with shelves on which were displayed 12 special loaves of bread.
These also included the Aron (the Holy Ark) the most important object in the Mishkan. It was the only thing in the Holy of Holies. The Ark was five feet long, three feet wide, and three feet high. It was a wooden box covered both inside and out with gold. Two Cherubim (heavenly creatures with child-like faces) were affixed to the top, facing each other with their wings spread over the Ark. The Ark had rings of gold at its four corners, two on one side and two on the other side, with acacia wood staves covered in gold with which the Ark was carried. Placed within the Ark were the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments and the Torah scroll written by Moses.
All the vessels and other items in Mishkan, most of which were covered in gold on the outside, but the Aron was the only one also covered in gold on the inside. The Talmudic sage, Rava, explained the construction of the Aron suggests the way a student of Torah should be, righteous on both the outside and the inside. As Scouts, we should not only believe in the Scout Oath and Law, but also live them every day.