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Who Carried the Aron?

In Shemos, Perek Chof Heh, posuk yud daled, the Torah tells us that one must not take out the “badim” (poles) of the Aron.

The Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvos, asseh lamed daled says the Kohanim were given the mitzvah to carry the Aron from place to place. The Leviim did this mitzvah during the time spent in the midbar since there were so few Kohanim at the time; however, once the Kohanim multiplied, the mitzvah was given to the Kohanim.

The Ramban in his glosses in Shoresh Shlishi questions the Rambam’s statement and says that we have a steadfast rule that no part of the Torah ever changes. He therefore says that the Leviim will always have the mitzvah of carrying the Aron.

The Chinuch in Mitzvah shin ayin tes brings down the argument between Rambam and Ramban. He paskens like the Ramban and says that the mitzvah of carrying the Aron belongs to the Leviim. The Chinuch limits the mitzvah to the time when the Yiddin are living in their land. When the Yidden were in Eretz Yisroel they needed to carry the Aron out in the times of war, or when the Jewish king commanded for it to be brought out. In today’s day and age when we have no king and no Aron, the mitzva does not apply; therefore, the concept of carrying the Torah belongs to the Leviim if Klal Yisroel is in agreement.

The Chinuch summarizes this whole discussion and says that today, while we are in galus, we take out the Sefer Torah to greet the non-Jewish king. The carrying of the Torah may be done by anyone including Yisraelim. It is not connected in any way to the mitzvah of carrying the Aron. In the event that one would want to honor the Leviim and let them carry it, tavo aleihem bracha.

The Gilyon Maharsha in Yoreh Deah, siman resh peh bais, seif alef brings down the Chinuch and says that even regarding this hanhaga tova of honoring the Leviim is dependent upon the machlokes of the Rambamand the Ramban. According to the Rambam it is better that the Kohanim should carry the Sefer Torah and according to the Ramban it would make no difference between the Kohanium and Leviim; they would both be equal.

The Shailos U’teshuvos Yehuda Yaaleh, Yoreh Deah, siman resh peh gimmel writes that when there would be a hachnosas Sefer Torah in his Shul he would let the Kohanim and Leviim bring the Sefer Torah into the Shul as did Dovid HaMelech and then he would take it from them and place it in the Aron Kodesh.

The Bais HaLevi explains the following question. Why does Parshas Teruma come after Parshas Mishpatim? It teaches us that one may not use money that was stolen and give it to tzedaka. Only after you go through the Parsha of Mishpatim and make sure your money is kosher are you able to give tzedaka/Terumah, so there is no chashash gezel and no mitzvah haba b’aveirah.

May we be zocheh to be the carriers of the Torah and to fulfill mitzvos without any aveiros.