Parshah Chukat שלח לך (Numbers 19an animal :1-22:1)
This week’s Torah portion tells of how the Jewish people are getting nearer to their land after the exodus from Egypt.
Chapter 19 speaks of the relationship between a Jewish man and the deceased.
And it reveals that whoever touches a corpse remains unclean for seven days. Then the priests offered an animal sacrifice from which the blood is spread on the front of the Tabernacle. The rest of the animal will be burned. The priest must wash his clothes with water as well as himself, and anyone who touched something that belonged to the decased. Death causes impurity and is contagious throughout the day. And he who touches the deceased shall be unclean for seven days. It required a ritual with ashes on the third day after which will be repeated on the seventh. Once cleaned the whole room and the belongings of the deceased, the ashes of the slaughtered animal are cast into the water that will end with the ritual of purification. A pure man will sprinkle everything and everyone.
He who has been purified will wash with water on the seventh day and be clean in the evening.
In chapter 20 we find the issue of a new rebellion by the Israelites during the Exodus when they are already going through nearby land but still need to go through land occupied by other peoples. This time, again because of the lack of water, they roar out, blaming Moses of leading them to the point of not wanting to have followed him out of Egypt.
Behold, God calls Moses take his rod and tell the people that a spring of water will come forth from a marked rock. Moses repeats the action of hitting the rock twice with his rod, as he did the time before in the desert.
The spring sprouted and quenched the thirst of the people. But Moses and his brother Aaron received a brutal punishment. Aaron died and his clothes passed to his son who continued the journey with the people ……… As for Moses………, and here is the parashah. Later we will find out that the punishment is exile, something that in that era was considered worse than the death penalty.
…… we remain thoughtful and wonder to ourselves, confusion, rebellion, revolt, repeated acts, not having paid due respect to God, not adapting to a new but similar situation but, … .. could it be so serious aas to deserve such punishment?
Apparently “small acts” can bring important results.
Shabbat Shalom to everyone! ~~~~~~~ Sivan — Silvia
Read the May 2015 newsletter from the European Union for Progressive Judaism. Click here to read and download.
Read Torah from Around the World #276: REMEMBER HESHBON! A SHORT PLAY IN THREE SCENES // Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1), By: Rabbi Eric Polokoff, B’nai Israel of Southbury, Connecticut, USA.
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Heading: Art by Bogie, Detail of Menorah in the Bet Januká synagogue