"You are to construct two cherubs..."(Ex. 25:18)

A Kabbalistic approach to the two cherubs: Both the cherubs in the Tabernacle and in the Temple were symbolic of the fire and the thunder the Israelites experienced during the revelation at Mount Sinai. Moses reminded the people of this experience when he emphasized that the origin of these phenomena had been in heaven. (Deut. 34:36)

Both were recipients from the attributes Love and Justice….

They were both constructed of gold, seeing that both were recipients from the attributes Love and Justice. They were constructed out of a single chunk of gold to symbolize the underlying unity of these attributes. They were male and female, respectively, in order to teach that these two genders represent the initiating force and the responsive force respectively.

The reason they were placed at opposite ends of the kapporet (v. 19) was that one represented the "head" i.e. the beginning of the manifestation in the lower, terrestrial world, whereas the other represented the conclusion of that process. This is what is implied in the wording "…from the kapporet shall you make the two cherubs at its two ends".

[Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of "The Torah Commentary of Rebbeinu Bachya" by Eliyahu Munk.]