Friday, February 08, 2008

The Far Side...

...has avoided the recycle bin of blog history despite the best efforts of certain people who will remain nameless.
There appeared to have been something afoot to restrict certain people from posting at their discretion. Now I am sure that there was mass hysteria across the nation yesterday due to the lack of a post from a certain individual. In some cases, probably the overwhelming majority, this was madness of a euphorific type. Alas, thankfully (although I guess that depends on your perspective), this little snafu has been resolved and we are back to business as usual.

It's a little late and things are little hurried so we'll go with an oldy but a goody.

The Aron is described as the following:

וְעָשׂוּ אֲרוֹן, עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים: אַמָּתַיִם וָחֵצִי אָרְכּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי רָחְבּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי, קֹמָתוֹ.
וְצִפִּיתָ אֹתוֹ זָהָב טָהוֹר, מִבַּיִת וּמִחוּץ תְּצַפֶּנּוּ; וְעָשִׂיתָ עָלָיו זֵר זָהָב, סָבִיב

And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.

The form of the Aron was Gold - Wood - Gold.
Simple question: Why? Why not straight wood or straight gold?

To understand the reason we first must lay out a basic difference between wood and gold, that is the ability of gold to be bent, molded and shaped and the lack of the ability to so to wood. Wood, at its most basic, does not bend and if pushed too far will crack.

The Aron contained the Luchos (10 commandments) and is therefore a representation of the Torah in general. The Torah was given to man so as to be used to guide his life in this world.
Toward that end man was given the ability, and more importantly the responsibility, to mesh the Torah with the world. There is a certain built-in ability of the Torah to be adjusted and molded to whatever comes up as time marches on. This is the gold aspect of Torah.
However, at its core there will always be things that are non-negotiable and unchanging about the Torah and its interaction with the world. That no matter what may come and what it comes up against the foundation does not change and cannot be changed. The center holds and does not, will not, cannot bend...should not try to be bent. If these aspects of the Torah are forced to change then the whole thing simply snaps and falls apart. This is the wood aspect of Torah.

So the Aron teaches us an important lesson about the Torah and our interaction with and responsibility to it. We must remember that while we can (must) adjust and change in order to live in this world, at the end of the day certain thing are indeed forever and it is those things that give strength to the rest.

Much like the lesson of the wood of the Aron, the Far Side too will last forever (okay, a bit over the top but it is a great comic) and remind us never to lose track of the big picture: