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PARASHAT KHUKAT (English)



By Rav David Lhungdim

The Lord spoke to Moshe and Aharon, saying: This is the statute of the Torah which the Lord commanded, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and have them take for you a perfectly red unblemished cow, upon which no yoke was laid (Num 19: 1-2 ).

This is the statute of the Torah: Because Satan and the nations of the world taunt Israel, saying, “What is this commandment, and what purpose does it have?” Therefore, the Torah uses the term “statute.” I have decreed it; You have no right to challenge it. (Rashi).

And in verse 22 Rashi gives the meaning of Parah Aduma (Red heifer) from the parable of Rabbi Moshe HaDarshan that, this can be compared to the son of a maidservant who soiled the king’s palace. They said, “Let his mother come and clean up the mess.” Similarly, let the cow come and atone for the calf.

The book “Yadei Moshe” wrote that the ashes of the red heifer of Moshe exist eternally, and the ashes of the other red heifer was mixed with the little ashes of the red heifer of Moshe, the reason is that only Moshe knows the secret meaning of the red heifer (Penei David Parashat Khukat).

Torah Temima on (Kohelet Ch 7:23) wrote that Shlomo finds difficulty in understanding the Parah Adumah since it impures the pure and the pure impure, as it said “I will become wise,” but it was far from me” (Yoma 14a). How can this be since we found in (1 Kings 3:12) when G-d reveals in a dream to Shlomo in Givon. G-d said: “I have given you wisdom and understanding that no one has attained before and after you.”

We have two answers for it; (1). According to Midrash Rabba (Devarim 11:4), Moshe obtains the level of Angels, as the angels live without mortal foods so too does Moshe lives without food for forty days and nights. Rabbi Avin said Moshe is half-human below and half-angel above. (2). Even though the red heifer atones for the sin of the golden calf, there is some impurity that defiles who are engaged in it, and this impurity defiles our eyes and obfuscates our objections, and this cause our eyes a barrier to understanding the meaning of Para Aduma. And all Israel had a certain part in the sin of the golden calf and even the tribe of Levi in general since Aharon made the golden calf “all Israel are responsible for one another”. With the exception of Moshe, who at that time was not at all in this world because he was in heaven, and in any case, he did not have a single trace of that sin. Thus he had no defect in it that would obscure his attainment. Concerning this sin, and indeed, that is why only He was able to obtain the secret meaning of a Para Aduma. (Male Omer, Maayan shel Torah Khukat).

The Ras”h in tractate Para (Ch 3) wrote, “Egla Arufa” one-year-old and Para Aduma two years old. According to R. Eleazar parah three years old is unfit, but it is difficult to understand because R. Eleazar said in tractate Parah (Ch 2) a pregnant cow is Kosher, but how it is possible since a cow two years old can’t give birth, (Ch Halokeah Behema pg 19b), thus it must be Kosher in case of diavad, and the sages said egla two years old and Parah Aduma three or four years, and the Rambam wrote according to the sages (Hilkhot Parah Aduma Ch 1).

And it is written in Parah (Ch 2) that if a male climb upon the red heifer it is unfit, and the Maharal (Baba Metzia 30a) wrote what does it matter if a male climb upon the red heifer. It said a yoke shall not be upon the red heifer, therefore, if a male climb upon the red heifer it is deemed as a yoke, but it is possible that the male climb upon the heifer and will not be deemed as a yoke, such as that there is something that stops between the male and the female, or that someone raised the male so that it does not lean on the cow, in such case the heifer is permissible. And now we can understand the viewpoint of R. Eleazar who rules a pregnant Heifer is Kosher because a heifer can be pregnant without a yoke upon it.

When Moses ascended to heaven, he found G-d engaged in the law of red heifer and quote Halakha in the name of Rabbi Eliezer: egla arufa one-year-old and red heifer two years old, Moshe said Master of the universe, “All upper and lower beings are yours, and you say Halakha in the name of flesh and blood.” He said to him, “One righteous person will stand in the future, and his name is Eliezer, he will be engaged in the law of red heifer, and he says egla arufa one-year-old and red heifer two years old.” And when Moshe heard, he said, “May he be my descendent and G-d said surely he will be from your descendent” (Tankhuma Khukat 8).

And why did Moses marvel so much at the Halakha of Rabbi Eliezer who said a two-year-old cow? The “Imrei Tzedek”, wrote but we really didn’t have an explanation of the red heifer, which came to atone for the sin of the golden calf, as Rashi says: “The mother will come and clean the feces of her son.” After all, if we take the view of the Midrash, that the Israelites did not sin against the golden calf, only the erev rav sinned. According to the aforementioned reason, it is necessary that the red heifer is of the proper age for birth, in order for the explanation to fit: the mother will come and clean the feces of her son”, and it does not fit because no cow gives birth until after the age of three years (Tosfot Berakhot 19).

Therefore, when Moshe heard the Halakha of a “two-year-old red heifer”, it is the age when the red heifer is unable to give birth, and it is therefore impossible that the cow came to atone for the sin of the calf, and if so, it must be concluded that the Israelites did not sin in the golden calf, but only the erev rav, and this was merit for Israel, and this aroused Moshe’ admiration so much that he asked Rabbi Eleazar should be his descendent.

It is explained in the Chatam Sofer, that reason for the mother to come and clean the feces of her son, belongs precisely to Israel, who sinned in the golden calf, and therefore the decree of death returned to them (see Zohar Genesis 126:2) but this didn’t apply to the tribe of Levi who did not sin in the golden calf, (they didn’t deserve to die if they die it is connected to another sin since it does not belong to golden calf), and for them (Levi) it is (khok) a statute. the Likutei Maharil also explains that (Mi Afta, Exodus 32:11) according to Holy Zohar (Deuteronomy 276:2), it was the erev rav who sinned in the golden calf, and not the Israelites’ if then why is there a need for Para Aduma for the Israelites. And thus for the Israelites, it is (khok) a statute.

And base on the above explanation I would like to add that all the nation of Israel did not sin in the golden calf, because anyone who sinned in the golden calf received their punishment and died, and accordingly all the people who remained alive didn’t sin the golden calf, if so why did the decree of death-sentenced fall upon them?

And it seems to me that it is because conversion is as hard as leprosy for the people of Israel, thus all the nation of Israel receive punishment because of the erev rav, as our sages teach in (Yevamot 47a, Kidushin 70b), since they (converts) continue their previous bad actions even after their conversion, thereby negatively affecting Israel who learns from them. Accordingly, it seems to me that this explanation gives the answer to the above difficulty why Levite or Israel who did not participate in the sin of the calf is obligated to die.

Or we could say that the holy nation saw the ugly act of erev rav, then why did they not reproach them, and more than that, the innocent blood of a Khur was shed and Aharon the priest was in danger. If then why the nation of Israel did not reproach the erev rav, and it seems that according to this all the people were caught for the sin of the calf and everyone is obligated to die.

And I found in Rabbeinu Bakhya (Exodus 24) converts are of no benefit to Israel, after all, the sin of the golden calf was from erev rav, it is said (Isaiah 14:1) “And the strangers shall accompany them and join the House of Jacob.” and the reason is they are not knowledgeable in mitzvoth and the nation of Israel learned from their bad deeds, and another reason because G-d sees their thoughts that they left their family and their homeland and came to cling to the Shekhina, and they didn’t worship G-d wholeheartedly, this compels Israel to receive punishment.

Therefore, HaEmek Dvar wrote in (Vayikra 19), “G-d warned that after converts become parts of Israel.” They are Israel in body and soul and whoever has leprosy in his flesh even though he hates it, in any case, will not be able to control himself and taken away from it, but suffers from it and is preserved from any damage, so even though converts are like leprosy for Israelite, in any case, he is Israel in body and soul. And he cannot distance himself from it.

Conclusion: Even though death returned to the world for the iniquity of the sin of the golden calf, it belongs only to the individual, but the nation of Israel has been privileged to live forever from Matan Torah by accepting the Torah because death does not belong to the nation of Israel. And so we have seen that many nations have been wiped out, but the nation of Israel lives and exists eternally by the power of our holy Torah, and therefore an individual who wants to receive the resurrection must be engaged in the study of the Torah and as we have pointed out in Ketuboth (111b) Tal (Dew) which is likened to the Torah resurrects the dead but what will become of those who are engaged in worldly affairs, for them Rabbi Eliezer gave an answer (ibid.).

Said Rabbi Eliezer to Rabbi Yochanan: Rabi, I found a remedy from the Torah how will those who are not engaged in Torah will have a share in Torah, (Devarim 4) “and those of you who cling to Lord your G-d, all of you are alive today”, if so how it is possible to cling to G-d? as it saith, “For the Lord, your God is a consuming fire (ibid 4:24), Rather, anyone who gave his daughter to Talmidei Khkhamim, and who makes business with Talmidei Khakhamim, and who sustain Talmidei Khakhamim from his possessions, are considered as if he clung to the Shekhina. And thus they too will also receive the resurrection of the dead in the future.


PARASHAT KHUKAT

By Rakhem Haokip


"This is the statute of the Torah" - Bamidbar 19:2

This week we are going to write about something different, something basic and foundational that is going to boost a lot of our strength in Avodat HaKodesh.

Every morning we say the Brakha, "Asher Bakhar Banu mikol ha'ámim", The Holy One Blessed be he chose us from all the nations by giving us the Torah.

The simple fact that we have the Torah, designates us as His servants.

A statute or Hok is a commandment that no explicit reason is known about.

Why do we observe them? Because Hashem said so, and us being his servants we are obligated to do so.

What does it mean to be a servant of Hashem, Israel?

Here's a story that I heard from Mori VeRabi, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Pessin Shlit"a which will inscribe what is being a jew into our bones.

A person once went to Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshutz and sat behind him during the tefilla. He listened to his prayers and found out that the Rav doesn’t say the blessing of “Shelo Ashani Goy - That you didn’t make me a gentile”.

He reports the news to the beit din of the city. The beit din sent a few people to check if it’s true and found out it was.

They hence, went to the rav and asked him the reason why he doesn't make the blessing.

The rav answered them, “Every morning when I wake up, I use to be so much filled up with gratefulness to Hashem that I am a jew, so much so that I couldn’t hold any longer saying the Bracha of shelo Ashani Goy, and thus I wash my hands, and shout with full kavana

‘BARUCH … SHELO ASHANI GOY!!’”

Rabbi Gedalya Eizner, The Masgiach of Yeshivat Chidushei HaRim, once came to the synagogue and during the tefilla, he suddenly asked the people praying, “Who won the elections today?”

People were amazed as it was not seemingly that such a great person would be bothered by such things.

They nevertheless answered him.

However, after the prayers, the students asked him the reason for his question during prayers!

The Rav answered him, I was just about to say the bracha of shelo Ashani goy and in order to give more concentration to the bracha, I wished to know who was the most powerful person on the planet, and that is Prime minister of USA, after getting to know who he was, I could now give more intention:

HOW BLESSED AM I THAT I AM EVEN MORE SPECIAL THAN THE PRIME MINISTER OF USA ONLY BECAUSE I AM A JEW!”

Hashem should help us realise the great value that is in each of us in being jewish that we may serve him totally out of appreciation. AMEN.


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