In this week’s Parsha, The Jews were commanded to build the Mishkan-a house where Hashem rests his Divine Presence on Earth. All the materials were to be donated voluntarily. The Jews were so eager to do so that they donated above and beyond what was required from gold and silver to wool and linen etc.
One of the most important components of the Mishkan was the Aron-the Ark. The Torah and the Luchos-Tablets with the Ten Commandments were to be placed there.
The instructions that were given is that it should be “covered with gold from the inside and outside…”
This was done by forming 3 boxes one inside the other. The middle one was of wood, the innermost and outermost boxes were formed of gold. Hence, it was covered with gold from the inside and outside.
The Talmud describes that this is a hint to the Torah Scholar. The piety and good character traits that he displays externally must be matched by his true inner “golden” character. He should not be a hypocrite or a “two-faced” person. Rather he should refine and elevate himself through and through, just as the Aron was gold on the inside as well as the outside!
To alesser degree, this applies to all of us. We all (perhaps rightfully so) try to portray to the world good character and positive behavior. We must strive, however, that these great characteristics become part of our essence, who we really are.
The Rabbis taught us that one of the methods of accomplishing this is by using external actions to inspire inner growth. For example, one who is naturally lazy and finds it difficult to arouse himself to serve Hashem oor to be helpful to others should train his body to act excited, with vigor and with alacrity. This will eventually help change his tendency from laziness to energetic. The same applies with all character traits.
The one caveat is that the person really desires to change. If one acts this way in order to “fool the world” it will not have a lasting impact.
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav