Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Chukas

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This week’s Torah portion, Chukas, says, “This is the statute (Chok) of the Torah which Hashem commanded saying[1], ‘Speak to the Jewish people and have them take for you a perfectly red unblemished cow, upon which no yoke was laid.’ A “Chok,” translated as a statute, is a Divine commandment that has no explanation based on human understanding and can only be understood with G-dly intellect. The law of the “Red Cow” is the statute of the Torah, and it is the most outstanding of all “Chukim” (plural of “Chok”). One who came into contact with a corpse can become ritually purified through this procedure.

There are various levels of spiritual impurity, each resulting from 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, “It will always be called in your name; the cow which Moshe prepared in the desert.” We have written many times that Rashi 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 exodus was in the desert! He received the Torah and fulfilled 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 is found in an unclean environment. The answer is that he must remember 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. With the power of Moshe, the generation’s leader, we can purify every Jew. This is true regardless of how far he has fallen and his surroundings.  

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

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

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 4, Page 1061


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

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


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

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

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