Inside the ark

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

In the midrash to Leviticus, Vayikra Rabba 7:2 we read:

"If a person uses broken vessels, it is considered an embarrassment. But God seeks out broken vessels for his use, as it says, 'God is the healer of shattered hearts.'"

The tablets clearly belong in the ark and so does the jar of manna, but why the flowering staff of Aaron?

The answer I think is not in the staff but in the flowers. The flowers are a symbol of joy and the flowering staff is in the ark to remind us that our faith must above all be joyous. We read in the second verse of Psalm 100, "Serve the Lord in joy: come before his presence with singing." (ivdu Adonai b'simcha).

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, "If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years."


The great Hindu philosopher Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."

Where is the ark now?

I say that the ark is here. I say that the ark is in each one of us.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including "Religion for Dummies," co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)




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