Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Q&A - Why did the Kohathites have to carry the Ark on the shoulders ?

As with many questions like this one, the answer can be found right in the text. In this case, the Kohathites have to carry the Ark (and all other artefacts) on their shoulders because all of these vessels were of a great holiness.

:Here is the verse (Numbers 7:9):

9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

‎9 ‏וְלִבְנֵ֥י קְהָ֖ת לֹ֣א נָתָ֑ן כִּֽי־עֲבֹדַ֤ת הַקֹּ֙דֶשׁ֙ עֲלֵהֶ֔ם בַּכָּתֵ֖ף יִשָּֽׂאוּ׃
Here is an artistic rendering of how the carried Ark of the Covenant looked like:

Considering that all artefacts of the Tabernacle (Ark, Menorah, Altars, e.t.c) were the centerpieces of the service, it is not hard to imagine that the reason they were all carried upon the shoulders (as opposed to wagons) was to underline their importance and their special holy status.

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