The Rambam in his introduction to his monumental work Mishneh Torah writes that before Moshe physically left this world he wrote thirteen Sifrei Torah. He gave one of them to each tribe. And we are told in this week’s Torah portion of Vayeilech that Moshe commanded the Levites “Take this book of the Torah and place it at the side of the Ark of the Covenant and it shall be there for you as a witness” (31:25, 26).

The simple reason He gave a Torah to each tribe is that he hoped it would assure his remaining spiritually connected with his beloved people for posterity.

When Yehudah pleaded before Yosef to release Binyamin, he said, “Venafsho keshurah benafsho,” — “His soul is bound up with his soul” (Bereishit 44:30). The word “keshurah” (קשורה) — “bound” — has the numerical value of 611, which is the same numerical value as the word “Torah” (תורה). Yaakov taught Binyamin Torah and through the study of Torah, their souls became connected. Torah is the language that unifies Jews of past, present and future generations.

Regarding the thirteenth Torah which he instructed to be placed “at the side of the Ark” there is a dispute in the Gemara (Bava Batra 14a) as to its precise location. Some say it was placed on a board protruding from the Ark on the outside, and there are those who say that it was placed beside the Tablets against the interior wall of the Ark.

According to everyone, however, it was in the Kodesh HakadashimHoly of Holies section of the MishkanTabernacle — and Beit Hamikdash. This was an area where no one was permitted to enter except for the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur.

One might wonder: What is accomplished by putting a Torah in a place where no person could enter to see it? Moreover, if every tribe already had a sefer Torah, why then is this thirteenth necessary altogether?

The Ramban (Nachmanides) offers a beautiful explanation. The additional sefer Torah was to assure that no one would be able to add or subtract from the Divine text. Moshe was cognizant that a time might come when there would arise people, groups or tribes that would rebel and want to make changes and modifications to Torah. So to make sure that the text of Torah would remain sacrosanct, there was one Torah that human hands could not reach and that could not be falsified. This guaranteed that any changes to Torah would be recognized as fraudulent if they did not match the version of the Torah in the Holy of Holies.

There is a story of an American who took his son to London to show him the interesting sights of that historic city. During the tour, the father made sure to take him to the Parliament and point out the huge clock on the top of the building known as Big Ben. The child strained to get a full view of the clock, and so did the others who came to see it. “Daddy, I would like to ask you something,” said the boy. “Why did they put the clock so high and make people strain their necks to look up to it? Couldn’t they have made the clock level with the eyes so that everyone could see it easily, without trouble?” The father thought for a moment, and replied, “It is this way. If they had placed the clock low, people would adjust Big Ben to the time on their watches. Now that the clock is high, beyond the reach of all, they cannot push around the handles. If they want to have the correct time, they must set their own watches in accordance with the time shown by Big Ben.”

The Torah Moshe gave each tribe is a time piece. Each Jew must live and adjust his time to Torah time. The thirteenth Torah is the Big Ben: it prevents the possibility of anyone altering the Torah his family and tribe were given.

My dear Chatan and Kallah, I hope you will always live according to Torah time. Torah time is the correct time. By doing so the “Master time keeper” — Hashem — will make all the time of your marriage enjoyable and blissful.