Quick Comment, parashat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-26:19
“Make an ark of acacia wood… Cover it with pure gold. מבית ומחוץ תצפנו . (Mi-bayit u’mi-hootz ti-tzah-peh-nu.) You shall cover it inside and out” (Exodus 25:10-11).
Why waste precious gold to cover the inside of the ark when no one will ever see it?
The gold on the inside of the ark teaches that God wants not only our deeds to be pure but the heart that prompts them as well. As the Talmud teaches, ”A wise person whose inside does not match his/her outside is not truly wise.” (B. Yoma 72b)
When I taught tennis at the famous Concord Hotel in New York’s Catskill Mountains, I had the privilege of meeting the late, Joe Frazier, who later became heavy weight boxing champion of the world. He was training at the hotel for a fight. We sometimes took walks and talked after dinner.
Mr. Frazier never finished high school, but an observation that he made is as wise as that of any Talmudic rabbi:
“You’ve got to do your roadwork. Everybody has roadwork. For me my roadwork is to run five miles every day. If you’re a lawyer your roadwork is to read those big heavy law books. If you’re a secretary your roadwork is to practice typing. Everybody has roadwork. I’ve learned that if you don’t do your roadwork where the sun don’t shine, it’s sure to come out in the light of day.”
Eventually, all of us must answer to the Eternal One.
In life it is possible to fool people sometimes with a false façade of confidence, knowledge and kindness. The inside of the ark teaches us, that God is not impressed by a façade of goodness. God clearly sees—and will hold us accountable for–what people cannot see.