Parasha Inspiration – Chukat

And they will take for you a red cow – Rabbi Yose son of Rabbi Hanina says, The Holy One blessed be he said to Moses: “to you I will reveal the reason for the red cow, but for others it will be a decree (without reason)”, as Rav Huna says, “it is written (Psalms 75:3) “At the time I choose, I will give judgment righteously/equitably”, and it is written (Zechariah 14:6), “And it will come to pass on that day there will not be light, יקרות יקפאון. The written is in {imperfect tense = they will float}, [meaning] things which are hidden/covered from you in this world, in the future will float up [to the surface] in the world to come.”

Bamidbar Rabbah

This week’s Torah contains the mitzvah of the Parah Adumah, the red heifer. This is possibly the most mysterious commandment in all Torah. There are many questions presented by the mitzvah. Why red heifer? Why does every step of the process makes the people involved contaminated, unclean? Why the cedar, the hyssop, and the thread of tola’at? Hashem gives us this mitzvah as a chukah, a mitzvah for which an explanation is not given.

Rabbi Yose son of Rabbi Hanina and Rav Huna explain to us in Midrash Rabbah that Moses is given the reason, but the rest of us, not yet. This is the primary mitzvah in all Torah that remains mysterious even until today. Midrash explains to us that even Solomon the Wise could not understand the mitzvah of the red heifer. The meaning is hidden. However, the meaning will be revealed in the world to come. This pattern of things that are hidden and then revealed is visible throughout the Tanakh. The allusion of a deer, one that is hidden, revealed, hidden, and revealed, can be seen in both David’s and Solomon’s texts. It is always a reminder to us that the Messiah is hidden, revealed, hidden, and revealed. Messiah Yeshua is hidden now but will be revealed in the end times. “Like a deer I will run.” Shabbat shalom.

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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.