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Perashat Hukkat 5777

Home > Rabbi's Weekly Message > Perashat Hukkat 5777

Perashat Hukkat 5777

Friday, June 30, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

The beginning of Perashat Hukkat deals with the laws of Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer, and the ritual through which it purifies one from the impurity of the dead.

The perasha opens with the words, "Zot Hukkat HaTorah", "This is the Law of the Torah." Later in the perasha, the Torah stresses again: "Zot HaTorah, adam...", "This is the Law of the Torah regarding a man...".  All of the commentaries ask the obvious question: Why does the Torah need to single out this missva and give it the title of "The Law of the Torah"? The Torah should have said, "This is the law of Parah Adumah" or "This is the law of Purity"!

The commentaries offer the following answer: By singling out this missva as the The Law of the Torah, the Torah is teaching us that the fundamentals of the missva of Parah Adumah go beyond this specific missva; these are matters that in their essence characterize the entire Torah.

Let's focus for a moment on the special law regarding Parah Adumah, which is among one of the most well known details of this missva. The Midrash notes that the very same process that purifies the impure causes all the Kohanim who participate in the process of preparing and administrating the ashes of the Parah Adumah to themselves become impure. The same ash of the Parah Adumah that purifies the impure, in turn makes the pure impure. 

If we understand that the missva of Parah Adumah characterizes the entireTorah, we must also understand that in Torah study there is a concept of the impure becoming pure and the pure becoming impure. 

The sole purpose of life and of learning Torah is to gain complete faith in Hashem. A person who recognizes his own imperfections, and understands that they are his hindrance in attaining a real connection with Hashem, could use Torah learning in order to improve himself. Accordingly, every day after learning, a person should engage in some introspection and pray that his motivation is pure and that he be guided from Hashem to learn Torah for its own sake. In this manner, his Torah study will be virtuous, and he will be able to become a person with a more refined character. This is the kind of Torah study that purifies a person. 

However, if one studies Torah but does not see his shortcomings and does not recognize his strong temptations, then his Torah study will cause him to feel unduly pure and conceal from him his reality and his blemishes. Through his Torah study he will actually become even more impure, because he is learning Torah in order to feel like he is someone of importance who could now judge others and investigate their shortcomings.

A person who lives his life knowing what he is still lacking, merits to have strong emunah, faith in the Almighty. Because he knows his own shortcomings, when things don't go according to his plan, he understands it is a sign from Hashem, and he works on repairing his blemishes, and in turn, comes closer to his purpose in this world.

Only such a person can really live with complete emunah that everything Hashem does is good, because he understands and knows that even what others consider as bad, is just Hashem wanting to bring him closer.

May we merit to fulfill our destiny and purify ourselves through the proper study of Torah and constant character development.

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