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RABBI YONASSAN BIGGS Chukat 12 Tammuz- Inseparable
NY City Candle lighting 8:13 Shabbat ends 9:21
Candle lighting times : http://www.chabadgn.com/calendar/candlelighting.htm
Monday June 29th is the 12th of Tammuz

B"H


Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portion of Chukat. This coming Monday and Tuesday, the 29th and 30th of June, mark the anniversary of the release of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneerson, from soviet imprisonment and exile.
 

The portion begins by discussing the Mitzvah of the red heifer, the ashes of which were used to purify people who had come into contact with dead bodies. The word Chukat means a statute. The commandments of the Torah are divided into three groups: testimonies, statutes, and judgments. Judgments (Mishpatim) are commandments which logic demands such as not murdering, helping the poor, taking responsibility for damages and respecting parents. Testimonies (Edot) are Mitzvot that are reasonable but are not logically inherent, such as eating Matzah to commemorate the Exodus, thereby strengthening our appreciation and dedication to our heritage and keeping the Shabbat to commemorate creation, thereby strengthening our faith in Hashem. Statutes (Chukim) are Mitzvot that are followed purely because they are the will of Hashem, such as not eating meat and dairy together and the law of the red heifer.

These three categories represent different levels in our bond with Hashem. In the first, we only bond with Hashem when it fits in with our understanding. We give nothing of ourselves away. In the second, we give ourselves over as long as we are comfortable. We don’t go beyond our comprehension. In the Chukim, we give ourselves over entirely. This is also alluded to in the word Chukah. Chakikah in Hebrew means engraving. The difference between writing and engraving is that when we write, the ink and paper remain two entities. When we engrave, the letters become part of the stone. The Chukim represent our bond with Hashem that is like engraving: we are one with Him and He is one with us.

All commandments can be fulfilled in the manner of Chukim. Although the general Mitzvah is understood, we follow the details because it is the will of Hashem. This is alluded to in the blessing for Mitzvot: first “Blessed are you Hashem our G-d who has made us holy with His commandments” (irrespective to the specific commandment) and thereafter “Who has commanded us to…” the individual act imbued with its significance.

The red heifer is the epitome of the Chukim. It is the only way to purify someone who has been in contact with death. This because by giving of ourselves entirely to Hashem, our bond with Hashem is mutual and His sanctity imbues us and elevates us from any impurity.

The Previous Rebbe was arrested for disseminating Judaism in Russia long after the communist revolution. The millions of Jews who maintained some Jewish identity throughout communist oppression are a result of his efforts. His resolve to continue his activities and the readiness of his followers to go in his path stem from the Torah being in a manner of Chakikah, total devotion. Although the opposition seemed insurmountable, their oneness with the Torah led them to continue regardless of the consequences. This brought forth the Divine miracle of his redemption. The Rebbe stressed that this was not only personal redemption, but for all those who hold the Torah dear and all who are Jews. considering the tremendous risks he took to maintain and spread Judaism under overwhelming opposition, it is a time to rededicate ourselves both in our own Judaism and in fortifying and sharing torah and Judaism. It is also an auspicious time to pray for salvation from personal difficulties.

The Rambam notes that nine red heifers have been brought in our history and the tenth will be brought by Moshiach. May he speedily arrive and bring purification to the entire world!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in Zechut of David Ben Sarah

A Project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807

 
   
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