© Copyright 2012 Alisa Poplavskaya All Rights Reserved

The Ark was made of acacia or shittim wood. It measured about 43 inches (1.1 meters) long, and about 27 inches (0.7 meter) both wide and high. It had 2 gold rings fastened on each side through which poles were inserted to carry it. The poles were to remain in the rings at all times. The lid on the top was called the atonement cover, or “mercy seat.” On top of it were two carved cherubim, with their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover (Exodus 25:10-22)

The Ark of the Covenant was by no means much more than just a box of wood and gold. The Cherubim (angels) were much more than a pretty decoration. Based on Midrash Divine Presence filled the Ark, the Cherubim on top came alive. Their wings were in a state of movement, opening and closing. Turning statues of gold into living creatures is certainly a feat worthy of the Sefer Yetzirah, but Betzalel did not bring them to life, the Shekhina did. Betzalel merely provided the body; G-d provided the soul (HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok, 2008).

Painting by Alisa Poplavskaya