All of the Jewish People Have a Share in Torah Study

There are thirteen psukim devoted to the making of the aron (ark). Why does the aron get more attention than any of the other objects that were being prepared for the mishkan (tabernacle)?


An answer can be found in Midrash Tanchuma:


When God instructed Moshe to build the mishkan, He used the expression “veasita”, “you shall make”. However, with regard to the aron, He said “veasu”, “they shall make”.


Why does God talk about all of Am Yisrael in relation to the building of the aron?


God wished to stress that the command applied to each and every Israelite alike. No one should have the excuse to say to his fellow: I contributed more to the aron so I have a greater stake in the Torah than you, since you hardly contributed anything you don’t have a share in the Torah.


For this reason, the Torah is compared to water (Yishayahu 51:1). Just as we are not ashamed to ask for a drink of water so too we should not be ashamed to ask to be taught Torah. No one should be able to say: I am a Torah scholar and the Torah is my hereditary privilege because my ancestors too were scholars but your ancestors were not scholars.


That is why it is written (Devarim 33:4) “Torah tziva lanu Moshe, morasha kehillat Yaakov”, “The Torah that Moshe commanded us is an inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov”.


Any Jewish person who devotes himself to Torah has as much share in the Torah as the Kohen Gadol (High Priest).


Is it a coincidence that the making of the aron is stressed thirteen times, a lucky number in Judaism, the age that a boy officially commits himself to Torah and mitzvoth regardless of his background or who his ancestors were?