Chukkat (Numbers 19:1-22:1; 28:9-15)
by Rick Ortiz The first thing we find in this Torah portion is the commandment we find regarding the red heifer, Miriam’s death is in this, Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it. If you look with more detail is it the act of him striking the rock that causes him to be punished. Initially he was instructed to strike the rock to get water from it, but then he was told to speak to the rock, there had to be a vast difference in what happened there. Aaron’s death is also in this portion. The thing that is interesting about Aaron’s death is that they mourned for him for 30 days. Typically in Judaism when you mourn for that time it is reserved for family members. So you gain an understanding about their regard for Aaron. There is a lot more than this, but these [above] are the highlights. The fiery serpents. This is one of the first times we hear about serpents in their walk through the wilderness. Undoubtedly serpents live in the wilderness. Is it that God brought the serpents, or that God lifted the veil of protection and allowed the serpents. But what I want to focus on is the red heifer. Numbers 19:2 starts: this is the ordinance of the law that the Lord has commanded. It is interesting the wording. The Lord commanded speak to the children of Israel that they bring a red heifer, without spot, where there is no blemish upon which there has been no yoke. 1. Completely red. No yoke to be laid on it. In order for it to be completely red, even two hairs would have rendered it not acceptable for the sacrifice. It takes time to make that determination, to find that animal. No yoke, means if even a mat was placed on the animal that would have rendered it unacceptable. From birth it would not have had to do any work. And you shall give her to Eleazer the priest that he may bring her forth from without the camp and one shall slay her before his face. And ….