Inside and Outside by Kenny Lowy



    We learn from this week's Parsha an important lesson that we should always have in mind.  The Posuk states regarding the Aron "וצפית אתו זהב טהור מבית ומחוץ תצפנו," teaching that the Aron was to be covered with pure gold both on the inside and on the outside (שמות כ"ה:י"א).  The question is, why was it necessary to have gold on the inside as well?  Since nobody sees the inside of the Aron anyway, why spend people's money on gold which would never be seen?  Why couldn't the inside have been plain wood?
    Chazal tell us that when we speak about a Talmid Chochom, we are speaking about an individual who is "תוכו כברו," that is, an individual who is as good on the inside as he is on the outside.  A Talmid Chochom is not a person who simply carries Seforim and is accomplished only as far as book knowledge goes.  A real Talmid Chochom is one who acts on what he learns; he is one who turns his thoughts into actions by being able to apply Torah knowledge to everyday life.  This is a true Talmid Chochom.  One must therefore strive to be on the inside everything that he represents on the outside.  If one projects himself as a righteous person, he must truly be such a person on the inside.  Otherwise the person is a hypocrite.
    This lesson may be learned from the Aron.  Chazal tell us that the Aron represents Torah, and we see that the Aron was covered with gold both inside and outside.  It would have been "hypocritical" to have an Aron which was gold on the outside and only wood on the inside.  The Aron thus teaches us that we must all try to be the same way on the inside as we are on the outside, and we can then become true Talmidei Chachomim and righteous people.  We should all strive to achieve this level of self-honesty and accomplishment.

Coloring or Dyeing on Shabbos by Rabbi Michael Taubes

A Living Aron by Aryeh Kaplan