ועשו. בעבור שאמר בתחלה ועשו לי החל ככה. ועשו ארון. AND THEY SHALL MAKE. Scripture begins by saying, And they shall make an ark because it had at first said, And let them make Me a sanctuary (v. 8).74Literally, And they shall make Me a sanctuary. In other words, Scripture employs the same term ve-asu for the ark as it did for the sanctuary. It does so because it is the first vessel to be named. With regard to the making of the other articles of furniture, Scripture states, And thou shalt make (see Ex. 25:23,31; Ex. 26:1,31; Ex. 27:1,9. Hence I.E.’s comment. See Shemot Rabbah 33:3.
ולא ידענו אם זאת המדה בחוץ או בפנים. והנה אם היא בחוץ יהיה עבר הארון מצופה מבית ומחוץ מב' העברים חצי אמה. עד שתהיה מדת כל לוח הברית אמה אורך ואמה רוחב. ואם אמרנו שגם הקומה חצי אמה תהיה כל אבן כבדה מאד אולי נתן השם כח רב לידי משה שהיו כבדים להוריד לוח אבן ביד אחת. וכ' משני עבריהם. אולי כן היה. כי הלוח הוא גוף מעוקב שיש לו ששה עברים. וככה כתוב כי ג' ארונות היו. ויש לתמוה על הכבדות. ועוד כי עובי הכפרת טפח. ועוד כי ראינו שלא היה זהב התנופה רק פחות מן חלק אחד מג' אלפים וארבע מאות מהזהב שהניח דוד. והנה הכרובים היו עצי שמן גם מזבח הקטורת לא היה כולו זהב והיה שוה לפי הסברא כי הציפוי למרא' העין הוא ומעט הזהב יכנם בציפוי הלא כי הקרשים והבריחים והשלחן ומזבח הקטורת כלם מצופים ואין דבר שיהיה זהב כלו רק המנורה ואחר שעשו הארון זהב מה צורך לעץ. ויוכיח על הציפוי. כי הנה האולם והבית צפה שלמה זהב: [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.] We do not know if these measurements refer to the outside or to the inside of the ark. Now if the reference is to the outside of the ark,75Both the length and width. then the width of the two sides of the ark,76That is, the two sides making up the width of the ark and the two sides making up the length of the ark. each of which was covered by gold on the inside and the outside, added up to half a cubit,77In other words, the half a cubit spoken of in our verse refers to the combined width of any two facing sides of the ark. making the size of the tablets a cubit in width and a cubit in length.78If the combined width of any two facing sides of the ark came to half a cubit, then the inside of the ark measured one cubit in width and two in length. Each one of the two tablets which filled the inside of the ark was thus a cubit long and a cubit wide. Now if we say that the height of the ark79That is, that the combined thickness of the top cover and the bottom of the ark was also a half cubit. I.E. comments thus, for it is possible to interpret and a cubit and a half shall be its height as referring to the ark plus its legs. Indeed, this is the way I.E. interprets this clause in chapter 9 of his Yesod Morah. See note 80. was also half a cubit thick, then each tablet was extremely heavy.80A stone measuring a cubed cubit is very heavy. Perhaps81I.E. uses the term “perhaps” because it is possible that the tablets were not a cubed cubit. See chapter 9 of the Yesod Morah where I.E. says that we do not know the height of the tablets or of the ark. He argues that the height for the ark given in our Torah portion does not relate only to the ark but to the ark plus the legs which he assumes the ark had. I.E. argues thus because he believed that it would be impossible for Moses to hold in his hands tablets of stones which measured a cubed cubit. God gave strength to the hands of Moses, which were “heavy”82Tired. See Ex. 17:12 and I.E.’s comment on it. to begin with, so that he was able to bring down a tablet of stone in one hand.83That is, in each one of his hands. Now Scripture states, tables that were written on both their sides (Ex. 32:15).84I.E. now states his true position, that is, that the tablets were very thin. See note 81. Perhaps it was so,85It is possible that the tablets were engraved on only two sides. for a tablet is a cube having six sides.86Hence Scripture points out that the Decalogue was written on only two of its sides. We similarly find it written87In the Talmud. that there were three arks.88Yoma 72b. “Bezalel made three arks, two of gold, and one of wood…He placed the ark of wood inside the ark of gold, and the ark of gold inside the ark of wood. He covered its upper rim with gold. It was consequently overlaid within and without with gold.” Its weight raises questions.89According to the Bible the ark was carried by four men. I.E. questions the ability of four men to carry a piece of furniture constructed of three arks, two of which were made of solid gold. Furthermore, the width of the ark cover90That is, the ark’s covering. was a handbreadth91According to Rabbinic opinion. See Sukkah 5a. This too would add to the ark’s weight. Additionally, we read in Scripture that the gold which was donated92By the Israelites for the construction of the tabernacle. See Ex. 38:24: All the gold that was used for the work in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels. came to less than one thousand and four hundred parts of the gold which king David left.93For Solomon to use in constructing the temple. See I Chron. 22:14: Now, behold…I [David] have prepared for the house of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold. I.E. questions whether Moses had enough gold available to construct two arks of gold of the size described in our chapter. Observe, the cherubim were made of olive wood.94The reference is to the cherubim made by Solomon. See I Kings 6:23-28. The point is that Solomon had much more gold available than Moses did. Nevertheless, he made the cherubim out of olive wood overlaid with gold. The incense altar was also not completely made of gold.95It was made of wood overlaid with gold. See Ex. 30:1-5. Hence it is possible that the ark was also constructed in this fashion. If we look at it logically, then it appears that the ark was covered with gold for appearance sake96So that it would look as if it was completely made of gold. and that very little gold actually went into the covering.97Hence the ark was not overly heavy. It should be noted that with the tablets inside, it still was of considerable weight. Were not the boards, the bars, the table, and the incense altar all covered with gold? Nothing except for the menorah was made entirely of gold. Now once they made an ark out of gold, what need was there for wood?98The wooden ark. The fact that Solomon covered the porch and the house with gold demonstrates how the covering was actually done.99So Filwarg. The point is, Solomon could not have thickly covered the walls of the temple with a thick layer of gold. He must have covered it with a very thin layer. We thus see that when one covers wood with gold, one does so very lightly.