Parshas Terumah goes through great detail how each and every vessel for the Mishkan was to be fashioned. If you look into the wording of the pasukim you will notice that when Hashem related to Moshe the instructions for each vessel, they were given over in the singular loshon. The reason being, that he was representing klal Yisroel and acting as their shaliach. (25; 12,13,14,16, etc…) However, when Hashem instructed Moshe on the details for the Aron it was expressed in a plural form; as the pasuk says (25: 10) ‘They shall make…’
Says Ramban that these instructions for the Aron were speaking to all of bnei Yisroel, yet the Torah stresses it as if it was talking only to Moshe. Why then is the wording of the Aron different from the others, and in a plural form?
Perhaps we can say that Hashem wanted every member of klal Yisroel to partake in the making of the Aron. The reason was that this was the holiest of all the vessels and Hashem wanted that each member of klal Yisroel should have a part in it. The Aron was the vessel that housed the Luchos which represented the Torah; therefore every single person should have some sort of part of it. Hashem didn’t want anyone to feel slighted and walk away feeling that they did not participate in the making of the house of the Luchos. Ramban brings a Medrash which says everyone has to have a part in Torah and therefore the commandant was for all to jointly build the Aron.
Sforno in parshas Beha’aloscha asks a question on the well-known proclamation of na’aseh v’nishma that was made by klal Yisroel before Matan Torah. How could they have made such a statement when there were certain mitzvos in the Torah that cannot be fulfilled by every person? For example, a Kohen does not have to perform a pidyan heben and on the flip side a Yisroel cannot to the avodah; there are mitzvos that don’t apply to many people-yet we all said na’aseh v’nishma. How could they have all said that?
The answer is because at the time bnei Yisroel replied na’aseh v’nishma they accepted upon themselves that we, as a nation, accept all of the Torah. It will either be done me or through a shaliach (Kohen, Levi, etc); but amongst all of them the Torah will be kept in its entirety! Whatever it was going to take-each person said ‘I help you and you help me’ and they all accepted on themselves a joint task when they said na’aseh v’nishma.
That is the same p’shat over here. Every yid had to have a part in the making of the Aron because every person had to have a portion in Torah through that which they had proclaimed when they replied na’aseh v’nishma-as it was already their commitment! That was why the Torah had required every individual to be included in its construction and not through a shaliach.
A yid can’t live his life without some sort of attachment with Torah. Be it by learning Torah, supporting Torah or participating through building Torah.
My rebbi said over that he remembered a story his grandfather would repeat over and over to him. When he was a young child in Lita, there were yeshiva bochurim that would eat by his house every week, something known as teg. It was common in Europe that the baalei batim would feed yeshiva bochurim. As a nine year old boy he remembered taking the little food that he had, and giving it to the bochurim! He would repeat this story over and over and each time he said it there would be a bigger and broader smile on his face. He would say it with such pride because his parents instilled in him the importance of Torah and future generations-even if all he was able to do was feed them, thus enabling them to continue learning Torah. He was then able to pass this midda down to his children and his children’s children.
We, as a nation, have to understand that although we may not all be talmidei chachamim, we each do have our own portion of Torah. In previous generations children grew up with a sense that they also wanted a part of the Torah-even at the threat of their own lunch. He was too young to commit himself at that time, but he had a natural appreciation and respect for Torah and talmidei chachamim that remained with him for life.
While the world may not fully understand the importance to learning Torah, we do. We have to impart in our children and ensure that future generations will have the proper respect for those who dedicate their lives to learning our holy Torah.