Parshat Chuka

Chukat (Numbers 19:1–22:1) —  What is the mystery of the red heifer’s power? What can be learned by what cannot be explained and what can be implied by what can be?

Shorashim Overview and Study Guide

Moshe is told that he is to learn the CHUKAT HaTORAH, the stereotype of a Chuka. A Chukah is a commandment with not seeming rational. The laws of the red heifer are the stereotype. The ashes of this perfect red heifer who has never carried a burden and does not even have two black hairs will be mixed with living waters and be used to purify the TUMAH of one who has touched a dead body.

Why is the Red Heifer the stereotype?

What is the symbolism of “perfect red heifer who has never carried a burden and does not even have two black hairs”?

What do the living waters represent?  what makes them living?

What does death have to do with the red heifer?

After forty years in the desert, the people arrive in the wilderness of Zin?

Miriam dies and the people find themselves without water

What is the connection?

G-d tells Moshe to take his staff and speak to the rock

Why take his staff and why speak to the rock?

Moshe becomes angry with the people and calls them rebellious ones.

Why now? Where is his legendary patience?

Moshe strikes the stone twice and water comes forth..Hashem is angry at Moshe and tells Moshe and Aaron that they cannot bring the people into the land.

If HaShem was not pleased with how Moshe hit the stone, why did water come out anyway?

What did Moshe’s actions have to do with him leading the people into the land?

Aaron dies at and is succeeded by his son Elazar.The people speak against Moshe again and the camp is attacked by deadly snakes. HaShem tells Moshe to place a brass snake high on a pole and those who therefore gaze up towards the heavens will be saved from the venom of the snake.

Why use the symbol of a snake if that was the thing that attacked them in the first place?

The people sing a song in praise of the well that gave them water in the wilderness

What is the connection with Miriam?

Moshe leads the people in battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og and conquers their lands.

1 thought on “Parshat Chuka”

  1. This is a very though provoking commentary. I never saw the connection with the death od Mirriam. Toda for your insight.

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