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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
 
 
  PARASHAT CHUKAT  
 
Our Limitations
By Rabbi Chaim Lobel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

(Numbers; Chapter 19, Verse 2) "This is the statute of the Torah, which G-d has commanded, saying: 'Speak to the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you a perfectly red cow, which has no blemish, upon which a yoke has not come"

Commenting on the verse, Rashi states that this particular commandment is a statute of the Torah "because Satan and the nations of the world aggrieve Israel, by saying: 'What is the reason for this commandment? What reason is there for this?' Therefore, the Torah wrote it as a statute, which implies, 'it is a decree before me (G-d), you have no right to reflect upon it.'"

The Sifsei Chachomim asks a question on Rashi (Verse 2, letter 2). "Why is this commandment so special, that it is a statute that one has "no right to reflect upon it"? There are plenty of statutes that are not understandable, such as the laws of "Kela'aim" (planting different vegetables near one another).   

Answering his own question, the Sifsei Chachomim suggests that the laws of the red cow are unique because "this statute works in a contradictory fashion."  The ashes of the red cow purify the unclean, and those preparing the ashes for the unclean become unclean themselves. Furthermore, what power do these ashes have to simply purify an unclean person. We may not understand how ashes can purify a person, but it seemingly defies logic that those same ashes would render a "clean" person "unclean".

Following the Sifsei Chachomim's reasoning, a person could appreciate that there are heavenly decrees beyond our understanding yet still feel uneasy if the decree appeared inherently illogical. Therefore, as Rashi explained, do not aggrieve when the nations of the world question this commandment because "it is a decree before me (G-d), you have no right to reflect upon it."

But there are many decrees we don't understand. Why would an individual who has "Emunah" (faith) and "Bitachon" (trust) in G-d only be aggrieved when he is not able to properly justify this particular decree to the nations of the world?

It seems that, since this statute defies logic, it automatically makes one uncomfortable in acting upon it. Certainly, this difficulty would be inflated when questioned by the nations of the world. G-d, however, reassures us that this is a statute not to be reflected upon. It is our limitations that do not allow us to understand all the reasons for G-d's decrees.

When philosophizing of reasons for G-d's laws, we should try to understand what we can but appreciate what we cannot. One should always try to understand what we can; realizing our limitations is one of them.
Shabbat Shalom

 

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html

 
   
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