Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Chukas

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This week’s Torah portion, Chukas, tells that[1] “This is the statute (Chok) of the Torah which Hashem commanded saying, ‘Speak to the Jewish people and have them take for you a perfectly red unblemished cow, upon which no yoke was laid.’” A “Chok” is a Divine commandment that human understanding cannot grasp. Only G-dly intellect can comprehend it. The law of the “Red Cow” is the statute of the Torah. It is the most outstanding of all “Chukim” (plural of “Chok”). Through this procedure, one who came into contact with a corpse can become ritually purified.

There are various levels of spiritual impurity. Each is the result of contact with death in one form or another. Hence the most severe form of spiritual impurity is contact with an actual corpse. The only way to remove this defilement is through the “Red Cow.”

Rashi comments on the above verse, citing the words “and have them take for you.” He writes that “It will always be called in your name; the cow which Moshe prepared in the desert.” We have written many times that Rashi is very “stingy” with the words he uses. He only writes that which is necessary. What need is there to tell us that Moshe prepared the cow “in the desert?” We all know that whatever Moshe did after the departure was done in the desert! He received the Torah and carried out all of Hashem’s commandments in the wilderness!

As is the case with everything in Torah, this comes to teach us an important lesson. One can ask how it is possible to purify a Jew who has descended to the lowest level and finds himself in an unclean environment. The answer is that he must keep in mind that the “Red Cow” was prepared in the desert. A desert is a place of[2] “…snakes, vipers, scorpions, and drought, where there was no water …” Nevertheless, it was from this cow specifically that all subsequent cows would be prepared. Rashi writes that each cow is called by Moshe’s name. Thus, with the power of Moshe, the leader of the generation, we can purify every Jew. This is true regardless of how far he has fallen and whatever his surroundings are. 

We must use that power to sanctify ourselves and all of those around us. In that manner, we will undoubtedly bring Moshiach now!

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 4, Page 1061


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

DEDICATED BY MR. RAZIEL שיחי’ GATES


[1]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 19:2.

[2]. Parshas Aikev, Devorim 8:15.

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