Parasha Chukat (Numbers 19 - 22) 6-25-17

1 year ago

* This week’s Torah portion is the shortest in Numbers.

* If you had to leave town with your family, who would you miss? The great thing about living in holy community is that you tend to form intense bonds with people.

* In this week’s parasha, the Jews are undocumented immigrants seeking comprehensive immigration reform in Canaan. Do you think they had valid passports? No way. They were no longer citizens of Egypt. They were seeking sanctuary and a better life and freedom to practice their religion.

* KC: “Are you saying humor is kinda decadent? Or like a sign of decadence?! Omg.”

* The connection between the ability for abstract thought, as measured by IQ, and morality (aka empathy).

* The red cow must have no blemish. We expect excellence in sports and art and in many arenas of life, but when it comes to religion, we often expect that there should be no standards. I once asked a girlfriend to come to shul with me on Shabbos and she asked if she could wear jeans. A few days before, we’d gone to the opera and neither of us wore jeans.

When it comes to priests serving in the holy temple, they too must be without blemish. A shul doesn’t need a stutterer as the rabbi. Not everything in life needs to be handicap-accessible.

* The red cow when sacrificed acts as disinfectant. It takes away impurity. That’s the goal of my blogging — to take away impurity. To act as a disinfectant. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

* “The ashes of the red cow must be guarded scrupulously lest they become invalidated through contamination.” Everything precious has to be guarded in a multiculti society, and the more multicultural your society, the more you need to guard nice things.

* Jews are great at bitter remonstrance. Take Numbers 20:3-5: And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! 4 Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? 5 And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”

* Moshe and Aaron walk away and fall on their faces. That doesn’t seem like great leadership. They’re worn down by the kvetching.

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