Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Trumah, Shemos 25:18. A Socratic Dvar Torah about the Kruvim

Here are four questions. These are not questions that misdirect or require knowledge of obscure facts. Any student of the Chumash will, with a little thought, find the answers to these questions. This process will help you realize something fundamental about the character and nature of the Kruvim.

1. Everyone is familiar with the Kruvim that stood atop the Aron Kodesh in the Mishkan. People who are ma’avir sedra also know of the Kruvim that were woven into the inside layer of the cover of the Mishkan. But where else in the Torah are Kruvim mentioned?

2. In what sense are the other Kruvim diametrically opposed to the Kruvim mentioned here?

3. In what sense is the purpose of the other Kruvim identical with that of the Kruvim mentioned here?

4. How do you understand the striking differences and similarities of the character and task of the Kruvim of the Mishkon and the other Kruvim?

When I posted this, I posted only the questions and left the thinking to the reader. As it happened, one reader, an anonymous baal machshava, nailed the answers. Please see the comments for his answers to these questions. I still don't get why he/she would not use their name. Bishlema me, I need to latitude to post whatever I want without consequence. But I still don't get why a commenter would do that, and I am still consumed with curiosity as to who that anonymous was.


  1. The other kruvim are the ones that ran Adam and Chava out of Gan Eden and guarded it thereafter. Rashi defines them as "malachei chavala," which is very different than the kruvim here, which are described as childlike and loving. Both sets of Kruvim were guarding the "Eitz Chaim", here the Torah and the Luchos, there the Eitz Chaim of Gan Eden. The explanation for the ostensible contradiction is that children reflect their environment, and can be angels of mercy or angels of destruction, all depending on how they are raised and the circumstances into which they are placed.

  2. Even better pshat in the Kruvim-- they were children in the sense that we generate them; in other words, they were the result of our behavior.

  3. Rav Samson Refael Hirsch is the one that points out the similarity between the keruvim of Gan Eden and the keruvim of the Aron Kodesh, that they both guarded the Eitz Chaim.