In His instructions for the building of the Mishkan, G-d tells us that both the Aron (an Ark that housed the tablets) and the Shulchan (the table that housed the twelve weekly loaves of bread) shall be made of acacia wood, covered with pure gold, and then covered with a “zer” (crown) also made of gold (25:11, 24). Rabbi Yochanan Zweig wonders why the word “zer” is spelled without the letter yud, making it curiously similar to the word “zar,” which means “stranger.” The alternate meaning would change the pasuk to read that you should overlay it with gold and put a stranger all around.
Rabbi Zweig suggests that there is purposeful similarity and ambiguity with the words zar/zer in order to highlight to us the importance of staying grounded. While the innards and essence of the acacia Aron and Shulchan are modest and reliable, adding gold components has the danger of creating a barrier between people and G-d and people and each other. We must be careful not to let our crowns take away from our modesty, because this is the quality that is truly our crowning achievement.