"`And you shall make two cherubs of gold' -- the
keruvim had the face of a baby" (Rashi).
The keruvim bore the likeness of the face of a baby.
We can also say that babies have the face of keruvim.
Therefore, if we wish to envision how a baby should look and
what are the characteristics it must have, all we need do is
look at the keruvim and see their holiness.
The Torah states three characteristics of these holy figures:
1) "And the keruvim spread their wings heavenward," 2)
"They spread their wings protectively over the
poroches," and 3) "They faced one another."
The same marks identify the face of an innocent infant who
has never sinned: wings spread upward, standing firmly with
wings outstretched protectively over the Oron
Hakodesh, and a face turned towards its fellow.
The keruvim were permanently attached above the
Oron. They were made of one integral piece, wings
uplifted towards Heaven, spread protectively over the
kapores of the Oron, above the Tablets of the
Torah and the Commandments, like an eagle hovering over its
nest, protecting its fledglings with wings outstretched.
Babies have wings. A baby is full of vitality, bursting with
aspirations that soar heavenward. But if we wish to know in
which direction the wings of his aspirations are facing, the
answer is: "Their wings are spread upward." They are always
pointed upward, to what is above them. They seek to rise
upward, always just a bit higher.
In his great wisdom, King Shlomo said: "Who knows whether the
spirit of man goes upwards and the spirit of the beast goes
downwards to the earth?" (Koheles 3:21). A spiritual
force always aspires upwards. It feels constricted and
confined between physical walls. It seeks to sever itself
from its fetters and rise up, as opposed to the animal spirit
which feels at home and more at ease the closer it is to
"R' Chiya bar Abba from Yaffo said: the soul in man is
constantly rising and falling. It seeks to exit from him"
(Yalkut Tehillim 150). The Alshich HaKodosh explains:
"For the soul which was hewn from under the heavenly Throne
and basked in the bliss of the palaces of the King of the
world, is bound inside the contaminating confines of turbid
matter and yearns day and night to return to Hashem, the
source of her joy." Therefore, the infant whose soul is still
pure and uncontaminated, spreads its wings, so to speak,
upwards, towards its spiritual source.
This mighty spiritual aspiration must not come at the expense
of one's obligations "between man and man." Indeed, where are
the faces of the keruvim pointed? Towards one another.
The Chofetz Chaim, our latter day Kohen Godol, so to
speak, a man elevated from his brethren, stressed that
whenever the Torah presents an obligation to move spiritually
forward, to ascend in levels of love for Hashem, fear of
Hashem and adherence to Him, it prefaces that demand with a
requirement of refining and improving one's traits to one's
"Just as He is merciful, so must you be merciful. Just as He
is compassionate, so must you be compassionate." For
spiritual aspirations will never be realized if `the way to
them is paved with stumbling blocks in the path of others.'
This was one of the vital cornerstones of the mussar
teachings of R' Yisroel Salanter zy'o,
Therefore, the keruvim, bearing the shape and visage
of a baby, spread their wings upward, stood and canopied the
aron bris -- yet faced one another.
(According to Meichal Mayim Chaim)