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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Chukat

An Overview of the Torah Portion

Parasha Summary - Chukat

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Our Sedra begins with the ultimate "Chok" (a Mitzva for which the reason is not readily apparent): The Para Aduma (Red Cow). The ashes of the Para Aduma are used to purify those who have come into contact with a dead body (all the while making Tamei - impure the Kohen who administers it).

The narrative then jumps 38 years to discuss events which occur just prior to our entering Israel. Miriam dies, & the well, which miraculously provided water in the desert is gone. So the people clamor for water, & Hashem commands Moshe & Ahron to speak to a certain rock to bring forth the water. Moshe strikes the rock instead, & is punished by being denied entrance to Eretz Yisrael.

The king of Edom refuses to let Bnei Yisrael pass through his land. Ahron dies & is buried on Mt. Hor; his son Elazar becomes Kohen Gadol. The people protest
against Moshe & are bitten by fiery snakes. Moshe erects a pole with a copper snake on its top; whoever looks at it is cured. The people sing a song of praise about Miriam's well.

The Sedra ends with victories in battle over Israel’s perennial enemies Sichon & Og.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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