Mediation, bridges and connections are an important part of life. When we do not have them, we often find oppression, aggression, or simply loneliness. Human beings are created to relate to each other and to relate to G‑d, but very often the links are hidden, concealed under blankets of ego, self-interest and materialism.

The double Torah reading this week expresses the theme of “bridges” on several levels.

At the beginning of the first reading there is a famous statement about the variety of the Jewish people and the fact that, despite this variety, all are one. The Torah lists leaders, heads of tribes, elders, men, women, children, proselytes, hewers of wood and water-carriers. All are standing together, unified, says Moses. Some kind of remarkable bonding and linkage is in evidence, dissolving the barrier between the lofty national leaders and the apparently unassuming water-carriers.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that towards the end of the double Parshah there is another example of the same concept of bridging and connection.

The Torah describes (Deuteronomy 31:22–26) how Moses finished writing the complete Torah, the original parchment scroll of which we have an exact copy in every synagogue today. He then gave it to the Levites to put in the Sanctuary, in the Holy of Holies, together with the golden ark containing the tablets of the law which came from Sinai.

The Rebbe points out that this act provides an important bridge.

The sapphire tablets of the law which Moses got from Mount Sinai express an ethereal level of holiness and of divine teaching. The words of the Ten Commandments were engraved on the tablets, signifying a special level of unity. The sacred sapphire and the divine wording were one. The tablets were kept in the golden ark in the Holy of Holies, an awesomely holy place which could be entered only on special occasions, such as Yom Kippur.

By contrast, the Torah scroll is an object which, although very holy, enters the world of human beings. It is housed in the synagogue and regularly read from in public. The sacred words are not engraved; they are carefully and beautifully written on the parchment in ink. The ink letters are separate from the parchment, because they carry the Torah teachings into a world of apparent separation.

This means that the Torah scroll which Moses wrote, and which was placed together with the golden ark in the Holy of Holies, is a bridge for the exalted holiness of the tablets from Sinai to enter this daily world.1