Midreshet Amit


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Parshat Teruma

By: Miriam Heyman

In Parshat Terumah, Moshe was commanded to make three different vessels that were to be in the Mishkan, that had crowns; the Aron, the Golden Alter (for incense) , and the Shulchan. Why do these specific vessels have crowns?
In Pirkei Avot, Rabi Shimon says that there are three crowns in the world- Keter Torah, Keter Malchus, and Keter Kehuna, but better than all three is a Keter Shem Tov (a good name). The Keter Torah is achieved on one's own by learning and becoming a Talmid Chacham, Whereas the others, Keter Kehuna and Malchut, one is born into.

The Golden Alter signifies the Avodah where the incense offering was brought, but only by a Kohen. The purpose was to bring a person to a state of completion and perfection. The Aron contained the two sets of luchot (the Tablets) which exemplifies the spiritual. Both sets of Luchot—the broken one and the complete one were in the Aron to show us that when dealing with the spiritual, one must want to always improve and grow. The Shulchan holds the bread which shows the physical success of man.

From this we see that the Keter Torah is represented by the Aron. The Keter Kehuna is represented by the Golden Alter, and the Keter Malchut is represented by the Shulchan. However, above all is a good name—you still must have good middot. In addition, perhaps the Keter Shem Tov is a combination of all three crowns. combining the deeper elements of Torah, priesthood, and royalty will lead us to the Shem Tov that Rabi Shimon described.