ABOUT THIS WEEK'S TORAH READING
The parashah this week, Chukat, opens with the strange ritual of the Red Heifer (which probaby was more brown than red; scholars keep debating the translation). What makes the ritual strange is that the Red Heifer's ashes purifies people who come into contact with the dead—but the person who burns the ashes and the one who collects them are made impure because they came into contact with a dead carcass! Miriam's death follows. There's water from a rock again, which this time leads to tragedy for Moshe and Aharon, with Aharon's death coming shortly thereafter. Finally, to stop Israel in its tracks, three separate wars break out in succession. Israel wins them all, with God's help.
QUESTIONS FOR TORAH STUDY
Candle Lighting for Friday, June 22, is at 8:14 p.m.
Shabbat ends Saturday night with havdalah at 9:17 p.m.
This Week: Shabbat Parashat Chukat
B'midbar 19.1-22.1, pages 880-893
FIRST ALIYAH: God "spoke to Moshe and Aharon" regarding the "Red Cow" ritual, meaning Aharon is still alive at this point (his death comes later in the parashah). So why is it Eleazar who must carry out the ritual, and not his father?
FIFTH ALIYAH: Verse 21.4 states that "the people grew restive" after Aharon's death, and demanded to know why they were taken out of Egypt—40 years earlier. What is going on here?
The haftarah, Shof'tim 11.1-33, begins on Page 910.
Next Week: Shabbat Parashat Balak
B'midbar 22.2-25.9, pages 894-908
THIRD ALIYAH: God tells Bilam he may go with Balak's second delegation, then blocks his way. Does God believe that Bilam set up the second delegation because he really wanted to go curse Israel?
SEVENTH ALIYAH: Verse 25.4 actually reads, "Take all the chiefs of the people and have them publicly impaled." Our text says "take the ringleaders." Is our text trying to cover up a grave injustice, or at least a horrible overreaction?
The haftarah, Michah 5.6-6.8, begins on Page 915