June 17, 2024
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Teruma: Groovin With the Kruvim

Shemot: 25:18-22

Director: Come in, come in.

Actor 1: Thank you so much for taking the time to see us.

Actor 2: We’re really sorry to bother you. Really, really sorry. You have no idea how sorry.

Director: I only have a minute. I’m late for a meeting with the set designer.

Actor 2: This should be quick.

Actor 1: We’ll see.

Director: What is this about?

Actor 1: First of all, I really appreciate the part you gave me in the play.

Director: That’s very kind of you to say, but it’s not really much of a part.

Actor 1: On the contrary. I think it’s the boost my acting career has needed.

Director: Um, OK.

Actor 1: But, I have a few questions about my role. I need to understand my motivation.

Director: Motivation?

Actor 2: Yes, he’s having some issues with being a kruv.

Director: Issues?

Actor 1: Yes. I just don’t understand how a kruv should act. Is he an angel? What is he thinking?

Director: How do you mean? In this scene, Adam and Eve are being cast out of Gan Eden. God says that the kruvim will guard the entrance to paradise so that they may no longer enter. I would say you should be acting like a policeman, like you mean business.

Actor 2: That makes sense to me.

Actor 1: I don’t know…

Director: Why, what were you thinking?

Actor 1: Well, when you think of a kruv, you think of someone cherub-like. You know, like a small child. Innocent. Tradition suggests that the kruvim had the faces of a young boy and a young girl. Perhaps that is what I should be projecting.

Director: I suppose that is a reasonable interpretation, even though in Bereishit they’re described as carrying flaming swords to guard the Tree of Life. Still, if you want to go with innocence, that’s fine with me.

Actor 2: That sounds great. Thanks for your time.

Actor 1: And yet…

Director: What? What is it?

Actor 1: In Parshat Teruma it is written that God states: “Veno-aditi lecha sham vedibarti it-cha me’al hakaporet mibein shnei hakruvim asher al Aron ha-Edut eit kol asher atzaveh ot-cha el Bnei Yisrael. It is there I will set My meetings with you, and I shall speak with you from atop the cover from between the two kruvim that are atop the Ark of the testimonial tablets, everything that I shall command you to the children of Israel.” So God communicated with the Jewish people from between the golden kruvim that were on top of the covering of the Aron. Maybe I should go with solemn.

Actor 2: Solemn sounds good.

Actor 1: And yet…

Director: Really? I need to get to my meeting.

Actor 1: Were the kruvim friendly or were they aloof?

Director: How do you mean?

Actor 1: Well, in the time of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the kruvim faced each other, like they were harmonious, and in the time of King Solomon’s Beit Hamikdash they faced away from each other, like they were not getting along.

Director: That’s true. I heard that they faced each other when Hashem was happy with the Jewish people, and looked apart when God was displeased.

Actor 2: Interesting!

Actor 1: And yet in the book of Yechezkel the kruvim are with God when Yechezkel has a vision of God’s throne. And there they are kind of fierce and powerful. So it’s more like in Bereishit again. I just can’t get a handle on this role.

Director: I have an idea.

Actor 1: What? What? Tell me.

Director: I think you’re right. I think that the kruvim played different roles in different times in the Torah. Sometimes they projected innocence. Sometimes they were fierce and stood for God’s judgment of man. Sometimes they were solemn and stood by Hashem as he spoke to the Israelites. Sometimes they were friendly and sometimes aloof.

Actor 1: And so?

Director: So I think you should play them as mysterious. You should both wear a blank white mask with your wings so that the audience can’t read your emotions. You will play the kruvim as enigmatic. It will work wonderfully.

Actor 2: That sounds great. I think that really works. I guess that’s why you’re the director.

Director: Thank you.

Actor 1: But then no one will be able to see me emote! All those acting classes!

Director: Marvin, you’re my first cousin, and you’re going to be on the stage for less than one minute. Get over yourself.

Actor 1: But still. This was going to be my big break.

Actor 2: It’s community theater at the Jewish Center. I really don’t think Spielberg is going to be in the audience in Tenafly this week.

Director: But still, I like that you thought this role over so carefully.

Actor 1: So do you think there’s a future for me in the theater?

Director: Let’s just say you’re an excellent accountant.

Actor 2: Exit stage left

Fade to black

Larry Stiefel is a pediatrician at Tenafly Pediatrics.

By Larry Stiefel

 

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