Kenneth Cohen

Holiness and Profane

The placement of the כרובים, or Cherubs, on top of the Holy Ark, is very mysterious. It seems strange that images of any kind would be permitted. And it is even more puzzling when these images are placed on the holiest object in the Temple.

One explanation is that these images do not represent anything human or physical. They represent the higher world of angels. They are meant to epitomize absolute purity and innocence.

This is reflected by their child-like faces, as children are also the symbol of purity and innocence. Great care must be taken by their parents to preserve this holiness. This is especially true today when children are exposed to so much, at such a young age, to the pollution of society.

These Keruvim face one another like beloved friends. Some say that they are like partners in their study of Torah. The Gematria of שני כרובים, is equal to אברהם, יצחק, and יעקב, our three Patriarchs, who served Hashem in innocence and purity.
The moment that Israel demonstrated a distancing from that which was sacred, miraculously, the two Keruvim could no longer face each other. Their faces turned away and their wings separated. This was a clear sign from above, that G-d was not pleased with us.

The Keruvim are a reminder that we need to return to an innocent, child-like worship of our Creator. It is needed that we learn to place our absolute trust in Him. It is clear that the world is crumbling, where morality is lost. And if we watch television, go to movies, or listen to the lyrics of today’s songs, we see the deterioration, where nothing is sacred.

This is clearly part of the ultimate plan, where the world will realize that we have no one to turn to, but the Al-mighty. Studying the Keruvim, should serve as an eye opener, that we once again clearly see and appreciate that which is holy, and reject that which is not.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at