I have read in Exodus 25 that the Holy Ark measured 2½ x 1½ x 1½ cubits. What was the symbolism of the half measures?


Here is a beautiful insight that I saw in the writings of Rabbi Isaiah Halevi Horowitz (16th century): The Ark contained the tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain, a testimony of the covenant of Torah between G‑d and Israel. As such, the Ark is analogous to the Torah scholar who carries the Torah within him. Just as the measurements of the Ark were broken, so must the scholar remember to remain humble and broken within, so as never to become arrogant.

Rabbi Horowitz also explains another interesting detail of the Ark, that it was to be gold-plated on the inside as well as the outside. He writes that this is also a lesson to the Torah scholar, this time about integrity: that his inner person should match his outward behavior.

Sheloh, Terumah, Derech Chaim Vetochachot Musar.