Parsha Talk Hukat 5781 – Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Jeremy Kalmanofsky and Barry Chesler

Parashat Huqqat [Numbers 19:1-22:1] begins with the curious ritual of the red heifer, the cow which is completely burned so that its ashes might be sprinkled on all who come into contact with any part of a dead human being [corpse, bone, battle death, grave] in a ritual designed to restore to ritual purity those who have become impure by what is known as corpse contamination or corpse defilement, the highest degree of impurity. This ritual, also read on Shabbat Parah, the third of the four special shabbatot before Passover, is followed by the story of Moses & The Rock, which we have discussed before, but offer something new this year. We also consider the death of Aaron, compare it to the death of Miriam, which introduces the Moses & The Rock story, and Moses as diplomat, in his dealings with the locals whose land he wishes he and the people can traverse. It was a robust conversation, if I do say so myself, though as is often the case, we do not get to all that we thought we wanted to discuss. Please send comments and criticisms to [email protected]. Shabbat Shalom! Image: Red Hefer