Bound: Unbreakable Ties in Divine and Human Love.
Rabbi Shay Tahan
When the Torah speaks in our parasha about the Keruvim, the pasuk says: "You shall make two Keruvim of gold- hammered out shall you make them-from both end of the cover" (שמות כה, יח). Rashi explains the meaning of the pasuk: we should not make two separate figures of Keruvim and attach them to the base. Instead, we should place a large metal plate and carve out the Keruvim from it by hammering.
The obvious question one should ask is why the Torah cares about the specific method of construction if the end result appears identical—two Keruvim on a base.
The answer to this question holds profound significance and operates on multiple levels. According to the Gemara (יומא נד,א), the Keruvim are depicted as a figure of a man and a woman, or more precisely, a man and his wife. The Gemara adds that this imagery symbolizes Hashem and the nation of Israel.
The positioning of the Keruvim informs us of the dynamic between Hashem and our nation. When the relationship was positive, the Keruvim faced each other; however, during times of discord, they turned away from each other.
Now, the nature of these entities is crucial. When considering the figures of a man and his wife, we must recognize that these two individuals are actually one entity. The Torah explains in the story of Adam and Chava that she was formed from Adam's rib to teach us that every wife is one with her husband, rather than being viewed as two separate individuals who happened to meet at some point in time.
The Gemara goes further to explain that those Keruvim actually represent Hashem and the nation of Israel. Chazal elucidate that the Keruvim mirror the dynamic between Hashem and our nation. When facing toward each other, they symbolize a harmonious relationship, whereas when facing away, discord is implied.
Consequently, we understand that since the Keruvim symbolize this relationship, they must be unified. This serves to underscore, as Chazal said, that Am Israel and Hashem are not two entities merely conjoined, but rather are one cohesive entity. Moreover, the Zohar (Acharei Mot, page 73) states: "אורייתא וקוב"ה וישראל חד הוא" - "The Torah, Hashem, and Israel are one."
When delving deeper into the words of the Gemara, we can
find enlightenment, especially in difficult times within relationships. The
Torah teaches us that even when the Keruvim were facing away from each other,
they remained connected without being able to separate. This teaches us two
important lessons: first, that during challenging times in relationships, we
shouldn't assume that perhaps this isn't our soulmate, as the base (foundation)
is still connected. And secondly, that Hashem and Am Israel remain connected at
all times, even when it seems like Hashem is angry at us for our sins.
Moreover, we can learn that if we sometimes experience strained relationships
with Hashem, yet He still keeps us in the same base, we are ‘permitted’ to
experience strained relationships with our spouse at times and not deem it as hopeless.
(Report an improper chiddush)