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Updated SEPTEMBER 30th 2020

Chukas בס”ד

There is a major lesson to be learned from our parsha. In our “parsha”  the people complain but unlike in other places God does not provide for the needs of the people.  Rather, the people are instantly attacked by serpents and many of the Israelites die!  What distinguishes our incident of the people complaining from the long chain of similar grumblings preceding it?  Why is God’s reaction to the complaining  in our section different and so harsh?

If we analyze the Israelites’ complaints carefully, we find all the previous complaints were directed towards Moses and Aaron, in this instance, the Torah stresses that the grumbling was leveled against God: “And the people spoke against God and against Moses” (21:5).  This time, it was not only Moses’ leadership which was under attack; it was God Himself Who they were speaking against. They spoke out against God, against having been taken out of Egypt to a desolate wasteland. They also complained about that which God has provided them with: “There is no bread and no water, and WE HAVE COME TO LOATHE THIS MISERABLE FOOD” They had the Gall to complain about the “manna” God provided them from Heaven ?  A rejection of God, of the Divine plan, incurs harsh and immediate punishment.  According to the Bekhor Shor commentary on the Torah, when the people approached the borders Edom and their fertile the fields were within their sight, they desired the natural fruits of the land rather than the “manna”.  By contact with the people of Edom the Israelites desire for the materialism grew and so did a rejection of spiritual,  including the “manna”, for the physical. We must always be careful not to get caught up in the desire for gross materialism which is a “klippah” of Edom. The message of the snakes is clear; if you speak out with an evil tongue, you will pay the consequences. The Israelites spoke badly about the “manna” God gave Them Saying “We have come to loath this miserable food (21:5).”  God then brings the fiery snakes thus  informing Yisrael that this evil speech. Speaking out complaing about God and what He does, this “serpent’s tongue,” is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

  In this parsha we are given the law concerning the red heifer. This was the only mystery of Torah that King Solomon thought he could not understand, but after Solomon closely examined this mitzvah (commandment) he realized how little he really understood at all. The Red Cow alone has the power to remove the greatest of spiritual impurities, the impurity of death. We lack this mixture today so everyone is ritually impure at all times. The Torah requires finding a perfectly red calf that does not even have two non-red hairs . The calf must be unblemished, and in perfect health and used for any kind of labor. The cow is taken to the Temple slaughtered. The High Priest takes some of its blood and sprinkles it upon the curtain that contains the Holy of Holies. The cow is then entirely consumed burnt, with cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson wool. At this point, the High Priest has become impure himself, and must go to the mikveh. Another priest (who is pure) must gather the ashes to be used to make the purifying solution. This person, too, becomes impure. Finally, the third pure person who actually prepares the mixture and sprinkles it on the impure people also becomes impure in the process. Perplexingly, the act of purifying others instantly makes the purifier himself impure. If Solomon the wisest man admits to such a lack of understanding, how much can we be mistaken ? In this generation many people feel spiritual practices are something of the past, not needed any more. They see them s illogical. People think they understand a lot more than they do. Because the Commandments our parsha is named after “Chookim” are those that can defy human logic, being based more on what can only be understood according to Divine understanding. Until one comes to learn the “Divine understanding – kaballah” of such commandments one needs to just do them because God has told us to. As we all are the Hebrews who said at mount Sinai “We will do and we will hear”, doing needs to come first. Then the God will illuminate our understandings that is just the way it works.

The red heifer represents the opposite of logic as we know it. Since that which defiles its makers purifies those who are unclean. There is something very humbling in recognizing that there are things which are beyond our “ability” of comprehension. In general there seems to be strangely alot of things about death in our parsha. In this parsha both moshe’s brother Ahron and Sister Myriam die, and the chapter just before was talking about the law of what a person must do to become pure if they came in contact with “Tuma” (Spiritual impurity).

At Meribah Moses said “ Rebels, shall we bring out from this rock water” We are Told by the sages that Moses should have said the opposite “ We will bring water from this rock”. It is also written that Moses should have said “GOD will bring water from this rock”, not we. Its written “ This is the water of Meribah, becouse the children of Yisrael strove with GOD, and He was sanctified in them”. From this one may think that GOD was sanctified at Meribah, but this is not the case, it is referring to another time. When GOD was sanctified by the appearance of Myriam’s well. As at Meribah the Opposite is clearly true, GOD was not sanctified there. After this the people complained for water again, and GOD became angry, and made fiery serpents attack them. Moses was then told to make a brass serpent on a pole and have the people who were bitten look at this serpent and be healed. That which was killing the people now did the opposite and would heal them. This may allude to the fact that one can not hide themselves from the problems of the world, but they must be confronted directly. They cannot be ignored, as they wont just go away. Also by having some knowledge of the enemy one has a better chance to be victorious at battle. Then God forbid they will not be taken by surprise.

Yisrael sins, then feels remorse. Moses beseeches God to forgive them, God forgives. Thats the way it usually works.

Here something different is happening. Dissatisfied with the manah, God sets fiery serpents upon them; many die. The survivors, overcome with guilt, voice their regret and ask Moses to pray for them. Instead of forgiving them, God orders that a large copper serpent made so those bit can be saved from death. Why did God not just heal them after Moses’s prayer. Why did it take “more” this time.

They rejected the life that God chose for them, valuing their own choices above His. They did not want Manah from Heaven, they wanted physical food. Its one thing to fail in following the God’s ways. It a whole other thing to reject God’s ways entirely for just what one wants because they want it regardless.

         We see this with Nachemyah during the time of the establishment of the 2nd Temple. Nachemyah made men who married gentiles in exile leave their foreign wives if they wanted to come up to the Holy land. (This is not racist but the God has commanded the Jewish people to live a unique lifestyle other nations don’t share, as shobot and Kosher. This is in the Bible. This separation preserves their identity as a unique nation.) He also forced businesses to be closed on Shabot. He did not look away ignoring these issues, neither was he afraid to confront them. He did the opposite He took them head on. This certainly applies to a situation involving the desecration of the name of GOD in public. Like the abomination parade. (I wrote this years ago and this problem has not went away). This involves a judgement upon all Yisrael. We must definitely directly stand up to this attempt to desecrate the name of GOD and bring such filth into our Holy city. What would of Happened if Moses did not stand up against the golden calf disco?. The problems we face are really opportunities to sanctify GOD’s name. To reveal light from the sparks that gives vitality to the problem the “klipa” (shell). Like the serpent the red heifer Healed and could do the opposite. So make the best out of the situation, what ever it is. We are told that one who is involved in sin should should do its opposite, and go to the other extreme. Before finding the middle path. When preparing the red heifer the Cohen takes a piece of Cedar wood, Hissop and ties them together with a crimson wool thread, and throws them into the burning cow. The Cedar is of the tallest of trees, Hyssop the smallest of shrubs. They were tied together with a crimson thread representing sin. This shows that both of these opposite extremes is undesirable. There is one exception to this in the case of the pitfall of the generation, “Safer Chassadim” says one should stay the farthest extreme from it. In our generation this is materialism, at the cost of one’s spiritual awareness and development. So do the opposite, don’t sell your soul, but acquire spiritual goods. King Solomon also said the middle path is that which is correct, except concerning humility and in this trait go the extreme. Always act according to the correct motivation.

  The only way to really understand the Red Heifer is spiritually as the Red Heifer removes “tuma” which is not physical. According to the Ar”i haKodesh ”  The red heifer shows how malchut receives from the back of the Holy Names, and not from their front. The red heifer purifies the defiled by the “revua” of the Divine Names  ע”ב ס”ג מ”ה ב”ן

Gematria each revua

 ע”ב = 184

ג” ס = 166

מ”ה = 130


184 + 166 + 130 + 144 = 624


We had nine Red Heifers to date. When we find the tenth Red Heifer, the Mashiach will follow immediately thereafter. According to the Rambam, “nine Red Heifers” were prepared for the period of time this Mitzvah was first given until the destruction of the Beit-Hamikdash.


So we can go as described in our parsha from “rosh pisgah” (head of the heights) seeing, הישימן being הישי the yeshi (father of David), מן (man-english). alluding to our righteous mashiach and may we see him quickly in our days.