• August 28th, 2022
  • Elul 1st, 5782


The Law

Presented By
Torah Contributor

Secret of the Red Heifer

The portion of Chukat commences with a discussion about ritual cleansing and the red heifer – a young cow that has not given birth. G-d instructs Moses and Aaron to tell the Israelites that a perfectly red heifer, one that is blemish-free and without yoke, should be burned, mixed with hyssop and wool and the ashes mixed with water. This mixture of water is to be used to purify anyone that has come in contact with a corpse or has otherwise become ritually impure from connecting to death or a dead person. Death, or the energy of death or end, can be manifested on both a physical or spiritual level through connection with a dead person, business, or relationship. By hearing the reading this week, we can connect to cleansing and eliminate the energy of death from our lives. The key to curing any dis-ease or purifying ourselves, is to restore balance. We find this process within the story of the red heifer. Spiritual balance is achieved when there is an equal measure of mercy and judgement. The Kabbalists refer to this as balance between Chesed and Gevurah or right and left column energy (the right being mercy / Chesed and the left being judgment / Gevurah). A red heifer represents judgement for several reasons. First, red is the color of blood which symbolizes judgement. The heifer also represents judgement as the Ox was on the “left-side” of the chariot in the vision of Ezekial. Also, the word for heifer in Hebrew is “Parah”. The root of the word – Pei Reish – has a numerical value of 280. The number 280 represents the 280 “dinim’, or strict judgments, the sum of the numerical values of the five “final” Hebrew letters (mem, nun, tzadi, pei, chaf). These “final” letters change form when found at the end of a word and signify end – also representative of judgement. When the red heifer is burned, its ashes are mixed with water, which represents mercy and right column energy. By mixing the judgment of the red heifer and the mercy of the water we achieve balance – the secret to purification and the elimination of the energy of death. Similar to how the Kabbalists create balance with the red heifer, we can similarly eliminate the energy of death in our lives by finding and striving to maintain balance. Balance is maintained through restriction, the elimination of ego and by providing equal measures of mercy and judgement to ourselves and others.

Water from a Stone

The portion continues with Miriam’s passing. This results in a water crisis as the well which had existed in her merit throughout the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert was now dry. After the community rallied against Moses and Aaron, complaining about the lack of food and water, G-d tells Moses to take a staff and “speak” to the rock in Miriam’s well. Moses and Aaron assemble the people, but when they could not find the right stone to “speak to”, the people began to mock them. Moses raised his staff and hit the rock two times which produced a steady flow of water. The physical action of hitting the rock, as opposed to simply “speaking” to the rock lowered everyone’s consciousness. As a result, G-d tells Moses and Aaron that they will not accompany the congregation into the Promised Land – Israel. The lesson here is one of certainty. G-d punished Moses and Aaron because they did not maintain certainty in their ability to make the water flow using their words alone as instructed. As soon as the people became impatient, they lost certainty in the spiritual act of speaking and resorted to the lower, physical act of hitting the rock with the staff. This act reduced the consciousness of the entire community from “seeing it when they believed it” to “believing it when they would see it”. The lesson for us is to try to connect to a higher level of consciousness by having certainty in the result – not having to see the physical act as a prerequisite to our beliefs. This subtle change of consciousness is so critical that it prevented Moses from entering Israel. We should strive to maintain the consciousness of certainty whereby “we will see it when we believe it” in all aspects of our lives.

Stop Complaining

As the Israelites continued their journey through the desert, they encountered difficulties with various people that did not let them pass through their land. The people become demoralized and started to complain. They complained to Moses and G-d about being brought out of Egypt, the lack of bread and water, and that they were growing tired of the manna. As a result of the complaining, G-d sent fiery serpents that bit the people – many of whom died. We can learn here that complaining is a losing proposition. It shows a lack of appreciation for what you have and a consciousness focused on lack – connecting to what you do not have. When you complain, you take on the role of a victim and become disconnected from the Light and your ability to create your own destiny. People who complain are typically those who do the least and look to blame their situation on others. People that succeed in life rarely complain and align their energy with that of the infinite. Instead of complaining, we should always share more with others and create our own reality – never blaming others for our predicaments. Moses intercedes on the people’s behalf and G-d instructs him to create a brass serpent and place it on a tall pole for the people to see. If someone got bitten, they were to merely look at the serpent and they would live. We can learn two things here. First, by visually connecting and remembering our connection to a higher source, we can be protected. The people simply needed to look at the brass serpent and their connection to G-d saved them. Second, we see how a spiritual connection can provide us with healing – whether it is a visual connection to a brass serpent, a healing meditation or use of the 72 Names of G-d ( http://www.thehealinggift.com/chart /). We see here how we can support and achieve healing with tools existing beyond the purely physical realm.