“You shall make two keruvim (cherubs) of gold…” (Shemot/Exodus 25:18)
This week’s Torah portion provides instructions for building the Mishkan, a sanctuary in which G-d dwells. Atop the ark containing the Ten Commandments sit two keruvim (cherubs) made of gold. The Mechilta comments that if gold were hard to come by, all items in the Mishkan but the keruvim could be made of other precious metals such as copper or silver.
Why were the keruvim to be made only of gold?
Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin teaches that the keruvim, which feature the faces of young children, symbolize tinokot shel bet rabban, young Jewish schoolchildren. They serve as a reminder to provide children with a Torah education as pure as gold. (Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein in A Shabbos Vort)
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in Growth Through Torah asserts that the gold keruvim remind adults to consider themselves as young children when it comes to Torah study. There is so much Torah to learn, and so much depth to each commentary, that it is always as if one is a small child beginning to learn. He writes: “The greater wisdom one has, the more one realizes that one is lacking wisdom.”
As parents, we must invest “gold” in our children’s Jewish education. The education must extend well beyond the age of bar or bat mitzvah (ritual coming of age for boys, age 13, and for girls, age 12.) During the teenage years and beyond, children become more capable of learning and applying Torah concepts. At the same time, we parents must continue to study Torah, not only as an example to our children, but in order to deepen our comprehension and reinforce our commitment to living with Torah as our guide.