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PARASHAT CHUKAT-BALAK

The beginning of Parashat Chukat also serves as the special reading [maftir] for Parashat Parah. The Torah speaks at length regarding the detailed process known as the Parah Adumah, whereby a person who was Metameh L'met becomes purified. This process also takes on the topic of an entire Masechet Mishnah in Seder Taharot.

 

The Parasha famously begins, "Zot Chukat HaTorah," this is the 'chok' of the Torah. Indeed, the actual translation of this word in this context eludes many of the commentators. The process of the Parah Adumah is the classic 'chok,' whose reasoning and logic defies human understanding. Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest man to ever roam the Earth, admitted that the laws of the Parah Adumah were indiscernible to him. How are we then to understand the purpose of this important Mitzvah?

 

An answer is offered by the Chassidic Masters. They interpret the word 'chok' as 'secret.' The Parah Adumah is the 'secret' of the Torah. It is well-known that the Kohanim involved in the purification and mixing of the ashes from the Parah Adumah become Tameh, impure/defiled, themselves while purifying the Tameh (the person who was in contact with a dead body). During the procedure the Tameh becomes Tahor, and the Tahor become Tameh. Multiple Jews (the Kohanim) are willing and ready to become temporarily [ritually] impure in order to purify a single Jew. This, say the Chassidic Masters, is the chok, the secret, of the Torah--Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh L'Zeh! No matter what the cost, time, or energy required, throughout our history Jews anywhere and everywhere have always been ready to help one another.

 

Mi K'amcha Yisrael, Goy Echad B'Aretz!

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Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780