The Sideways ArkBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
G-d told Moshe to go among the Jews and accept donations for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle). These donations could consist of gold, silver, copper, colored wool and other fabrics, skins, wood, gems, oil and spices. G-d would instruct Moshe in building the Mishkan, where His Presence would reside.
The first vessel G-d described was the Aron (Ark), a wooden box overlaid with gold. There were rings on the corners, through which poles were placed to carry the Aron; these poles were never to be removed. (The Ark is popularly depicted with the poles running along the longer sides but, really, the poles ran along the shorter ends. See Talmud Menachos 98a-b).