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The Ark of the Covenant
October 24, 2012, 10:23 am
Filed under: ark, Luchot haBrit, voices heard and not heard | Tags:

UPDATED May 22 2019

The Talmud states: “Rabbi Eliezer said, ‘The Ark went into exile to Babylonia….’ Rabbi Judah son of Lakish said, ‘The Ark was hidden in its own place’” Yoma (53b; Tosefta Shekalim 2; Baraita De-melekhet Ha-Mishkan 7). Rabbi Judah son of Lakish only appears rarely in the Talmud, and as a result, in some parallel versions his name was erroneously rendered as Rabbi Judah bar Ilai or Rabbi Simeon son of Lakish. According to one baraita in the Talmud Bavli, Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai maintained that the Ark was “hidden in its own place” as well, but according to a different baraita in the Bavli and according to the Tosefta, Rabbi Simeon actually supported Rabbi Eliezer’s position. It is interesting to note that the Tosefta opted to omit entirely the opinion that the Ark was hidden in the store of wood, despite the fact that the whole discussion of the fate of the Ark came about as a result of the dispute over the thirteen prostrations..”

the rambam writes in the Mishneh Torah:

“When Solomon built the Temple, he was aware that it would ultimately be destroyed. Therefore, he constructed a chamber, in which the Ark could be entombed below the Holy of Holies in deep, maze-like vaults. King Josiah commanded that the Ark be entombed in the chamber built by Solomon, as it is said: “He said to the Levites, consecrated to the Lord, who taught all Israel, ‘Put the Holy Ark in the House that Solomon son of David, king of Israel, built…’” (II Chronicles 35:3). (Hilkhot Beit Ha-bechira 4:1)

 This is unusual, as Rambam generally does not rule on historical questions in Mishneh Torah, including the interpretation of texts and even halakhic questions that were only relevant in the past (such as the permissibility of the bamot), unless there is some practical halakhic implication for the present or the future, or if the question touches on a fundamental foundation of faith. In light of this, why did Rambam choose to rule with such certainty in our case, weighing in on what amounts to a Tannaitic historical dispute?

It is likely that the reason behind this ruling can be found in the Talmud Yerushalmi:

Rabbi Yassa said in the name of Rabbi Yohanan: “This is the rule – whenever the Ark is within [the Sanctuary], the bamot are forbidden; when it has left [the Sanctuary], the bamot are permitted.” Rabbi Ze’ira asked Rabbi Yassa: “Even [when the Ark has left the Sanctuary] temporarily, as in the case of Eli?” (Yerushalmi Megilla 1:12)

In the style of the Yerushalmi, Rabbi Ze’ira’s question that was seemingly left unanswered serves as its own conclusion: Indeed, even when the Ark leaves the Sanctuary temporarily, the bamot become permitted. Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, in his Meshekh Chokhma commentary on Parashat Re’eh, expanded on this notion, using it to explain the apparent violation of the prohibition on bamot during the Shiloh period. According to him, during the time of the Mishkan in Shiloh, the Ark would be removed regularly from its place to be present at national gatherings elsewhere, and sometimes it would even remain in those other locations for extended periods of time. During those periods when the Ark was absent from the Mishkan in Shiloh, claims the Meshekh Chokhma,the bamot were permitted.

            Now we can return to Rambam’s unusual ruling. In a different, well-known statement that is accepted as the normative halakha, Rambam rules that the “first consecration” performed by Solomon in Jerusalem applied “for that time and for eternity” (Hilkhot Beit Ha-bechira 6:14). This ruling has several halakhic implications, both positive – we can offer sacrifices on the Temple site even without the Temple itself; we can eat the “most holy” sacrifices even without the “hangings” of the Courtyard; we can eat sacrifices of lesser sanctity and ma’aser sheni even without the wall surrounding Jerusalem (Mishna Eduyot 8:6; Hilkhot Beit Ha-bechira 6:15) – and negative – the impure may not enter the area of the Courtyard; and bamot are prohibited outside of Jerusalem. In order to reconcile this ruling with the statement of the Yerushalmi, Rambam was forced to rule in accordance with Rabbi Judah son of Lakish – the Ark was hidden in its own place If so, according to Rambam the Ark is still in its original location, waiting for us in the depths of the Holy of Holies, beneath the Foundation Stone in Jerusalem.


When God spoke to Moses from the Ark, there were people standing right next to Moses who could not hear God’s voice. They lacked the ability to “amplify” the sound waves of God’s voice, and “translate” them. .” Rashi says that this voice is the voice of God that was heard at Har Sinai. It contained the same strength and power, but only Moshe could hear it. The reason we do not experience prophecy today is not because there is no prophecy, but because we lack prophets, people capable of amplifying God’s voice. While God continues to communicate in a myriad ways all the time, we are generally not geared to receive His messages.

In the end period of King יאשיהו (Yoashiyahu) rule, he hid the Ark.1

The Ark of the Covenant “appears” gone, it is concealed until the one who had it hid reveals it AGAIN.

Yet its influence is still available in hidden and concealed ways.

The sages in Yoma teach that there were actually 2 Arks. One was made by Moses and the other by Betzalel. Mose’s one held the Tablets of the Commandments until Betzalel’s Ark was completed. Then Betzalel’s Ark took over as “The Ark”, and Moshe’s Ark was dedicated to be the Ark of War. It was Moshe’s Ark that went out into battle before the Israelite army killing the enemies by sending forth some kind of “energy” .

According to the teachings of the Holy Ar”i  there are three arks, one inside the other. The inner and outer arks are made of gold, the middle ark, was made of wood. The three arks are Akatria”l in Beriah, Metatro”n in Yetzirah, and Sandalfo”n in Asiyah.


There are three arks, one inside the other. The inner and outer arks are made of gold, the middle ark, was made of wood. The three arks are Akatria”l in Beriah, Metatro”n in Yetzirah, and Sandalfo”n in Asiyah.


The Ark was not just a mere box of wood and gold of fine artistic work, with stone tablets. The Cherubim (angels) on the Ark were not just pretty decorations. When the Divine Presence filled the Ark, the Cherubim on top would move and turn towards each other.. Their wings would open and close. Betzalel was taught spiritual Divine secrets to build the Ark and all the “mishcon” (Tabernacle). We do know Betzalel was a master of the meditative techniques of the ‘Sefer Yetzirah’ (Book of Creation) as according to its way the work was, and is done. All is according to as it is above The Ark below was formed in the image of the Ark above and connected to it. Do not be mistaken there is nothing physical in Heaven.

The Ark is a communications device a “relay” from God in the Heavens. From the are goes out the spirit of Holiness to Holy sages and from it the Prophets would receive prophesy. By the ark the High Priest communicated with God . The Ark was not like a radio or telephone, it would not work for just “anybody”. Only a man properly prepared, of refined character “can tune in” to the Divine broadcast.

The methods necessary to “hook up” are not and never have been publicly elaborated.

The High Priest would approach the Ark wearing Breastplate of Judgment it had mysterious things called “Urim” and “Tummim” Inside it. They are Names of God that animated the Breast plate. The High Priest approached the Ark, contemplated his question.

The 12 stones on the Breastplate would begin to light up, specific letters on the stones would shine and a strange high pitched sound (not everyone would be able to hear).

Only by “Ruach haKodesh” the Holy Spirit could one decipher any answer being given by the

Breastplate. The letters that lit up on the breastplate did not spell out “obvious” sentences or words. The message could only be understood by one who has “Ruach HaKodesh” and is trained in the methods of Sefer Yetzirah and its “complimentary” knowledge.

Whatever happened to the Ark, is a confusing tradition. When we entered into the period of exile the Ark, along with the breastplate were concealed. By this prophecy came to an end soon afterwards. The Shechina rose up at the destruction of the Temple from the כפורות (ark cover) to the caruvim from the caruvim to the מפתן (threshold) from the מפתן to the courtyard from the courtyard to the alter from the alter to the roof from the roof to the wall of the city from the wall of the city to the mountain from the mountain to the desert and then to its place. In these 10 levels the shechina rises and decends. Likewise there were 10 places of the exile of the sanhedrin from the גזית to חנויות to חיל to ירושלם to Yavneh to אושא to שופעס to בית שערים to ציפורי to טבריא to עמוקה. The galut of the sanhedrin is as the galut of the Shechinah 2 The Sanhedrin are 70 kings in malchut.3 72 colors are 70 of the sanhedrin with Moshe and Aharon. These illude to 7 sefirot each including 10. Moshe and Aharon illude to their source being the secret of 9 tikuney dikna. 7 include 10 and 2 are the source of all.4 With the destruction of the temple there went away the ruach of navua (spirit of prophesy) from the world.5 As all prophecy was channeled through the Ark. Lower forms of communication are still available.

Some say the Ark is buried under the Temple Mount; IT VERY WELL MAY BE, others say its in Ethiopia; another place tells us it is buried in a cave somewhere out in the deserts of Southern Israel. The time will come when the period of exile ends the the Ark will once again will be revealed and the lines of communication will again be open ONLY THIS TIME IN A GREATER WAY !

Here is all that can be said :

Even if the Temple does not exist today, still in its merit the world is fed. Sustenance is emited from there to every place.6 The “kadosh Kadoshim”, the place where Hashem chose to place the ארון (ark), in its midst is the middle pillar. The temple is the secret of Malchut called א”ל . Between the temple below and that above is only 18 mil.7 Sapphire stone corresponds to the “even Stiyah”.8 The “even Stiyah” is the stone with 7 eyes described by Zachariah (3:9). It reveals Chaga”t and Nh”y of Chuchmah. The ark is Bina including 32 paths which is the source of the Nashama Yetera of Shabot which is Chuchmah , the fire of the Brass alter, it stands against the fire of Ghenom.9 The world is established by of Binna from it is Chuchmah revealed in Malchut according to the secret of 3×4=12 being 12 stones, tribes and hours of the day and night.10 Concerning the “even Stiyah” we learn in the Zohar that stones called Malchut rule in the left without the right. They rest on the ת ה ו ם = מ ה x 10 (depths). ת ה ו ם ע ל י ו ן is Teferet of Arich, which is the source of upper conduits. שתיה ןבא(even Stiyah-floundation stone) שת (foundation) of . 11 The שתיה ןבא is (Wisdom) חכמה=גולם (energy before assigned form-unused potential).12 According to judgements of the left they are concealed. From them goes out water which is Chassadim (force of Hashem’s giving). Concerning this water King Salomon writes “many waters will not satisfy love (song of songs 8:7). One can never give enough for this love.13

The supernal ark and the Torah. They operate in a timeless realm above physical laws. This is so as ink in Hebrew “דיו” is the letters that spell out יוד (Yud) of the divine name Yhv’h. As said יוד is the intellect of the Torah. And יוד being Chuchmah is above space and time.14 Torah is from intellect of חסד תורת (Torah of kindness). And the חסד (kindness) is above intellect.. This is so that kindness shall over power judgment.15 The “Safer Torah” is Z’a called the written Torah. It has in it only the “tagin” (crowns of letters) and letters. The letters are the 288 sparks of the vessels that shattered. In creating the world Hashem joined letters and sparks together. By the shattering of the vessels sparks fell below. By holy speech one makes permutations of these letters and sparks, thereby making peace between them and raising up the “mym nukvin”.16

The soul of Moshe goes out from its ark which is “hachel Lavanot Hasaphir” which is “chasmal” called flesh. This ark is made to Imma. The ark is the 248 limbs. ב ש ר (flesh) is dinim (judgments), that are given measure for measure. The portion to Z’a cleansed is called chashmal, the portion not cleansed is called Noga. Chasmal and Noga are 2 separate parzufim. The aspect ב ש ר is א ל ה י ם it is “mochin” of “yonika” which is only 6 corners of Bina that makes ג ר of Ruach. ב ש ר is ב– dat, ש– chuchmah and ר– bina. These being three “Meloy” of א ל ה י ם , with י which is “moch” 6 corners of Chuchmah is gematria ש .These are the “chayot of consuming fire”. “Meloy” ה “moch” Binna it has no chassadim and “meloy” א is “moch” Dat, it has chassadim and givurot . Chuchmah must be enclosed in Chuchmah to be revealed. Achoryim of א ל ה י ם is gematria ר , it is inside Chasmal. From Z’a of Bria till the end of Malchut are 120 sarufim “Elokim Kadoshim”. Outside these is Chasmal. Chasmal is names of א ל ה י ם. 17Chashmal is “chayot” of “consuming fire”.18

The ark is made of “shittim” wood, becouse it is Nefesh הצומחת (plant Nefesh). It is yesod olam (foundation of the world).19 

The Holy Ark was larger than the dimensions of the space that contained it in the “Holy of Holies”, in the Temple as it was beyond  time and space. With it the dimensions of time and space became nullified as we know them. Making it some what like “Gan Aden” which is beyond this world and “Gan Aden” is a bit like the the Messianic Age !

1Svaot Hashem

2Shoshon Sodot

3Zohar Shir HaShirim Rosenberg p.96

4Oar Yakar Vol 2 Noach p.210

5Zohar Aichah Rosenberg p.22

6Sulam on Zohar Trumah p.157b

7Sulam on Zohar Ekev p.272b,Shoshon Sodot

8Zohar Barashit p.71b

9Matak mDavash on Tikuny Zohar p.137

10Sulam on Zohar Vayichi p.218a

11Safer Lecutim p.197,Zohar Smot 220a

12Avodat Yisrael p.1

13Sulam on Zohar Trumah p.146b

14Sulam on Zohar Trumah p.159a

15Beney Yishachar p25:2

16Lekutey Maharon p.75

17Aor Enyim93:2,209,41:2,Zohar Lech lacha p.35,Avodat Yisrael p.53

18Zohar Vayachal p.203b

19Beor Esser Sefirot



The first tablets are very much a product of God’s “work” as its written “The  tablets were God’s work,  and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets” (32:16). The second tablets are a partnership between God and Man “God said to Moses, ‘Cut for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets that you shattered'” (34:1).