Parshas Chukas-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Chukas

Pesukim: 87 [Siman: עזי, פז]

Haftorah: Shoftim 11:1-33

Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of three Mitzvos in Parshas Chukas; Three positive commands and Zero negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.

 

A. Positive:

1. Mitzvah 397/Positive 161: To prepare ash of the red cow for purification purposes.

2. Mitzvah 398/Positive 162: To follow the laws dictated by the Torah for one who has become impurified by contacting a corpse [i.e. Tumas Meis].

3. Mitzvah 399/Positive 163: To purify the impure using the Mei Niddah [water mixed with red heifer ashes] in accordance to the Torah law.

 

Rishon

  1. The Mitzvah of Parah Adumah:
  • Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron saying that they should tell the Jewish people about the Mitzvah of Parah Adumah. The Mitzvah of the Parah Adumah is the Chok of the Torah.
  • Criteria of the cow: The Jewish people should bring to you a perfectly red cow that is unblemished and has never worked.
  • The service performed with the cow: Elazar Hakohen is to be given the cow and he is to take it outside the camp where it shall be slaughtered in his presence. Elazar is to take from its blood and sprinkle its blood with his finger seven times towards the Ohel Moed. The entire cow is to be burnt in his presence, including its skin, meat, blood and waste. The Kohen is to take cedar wood, hyssop, and a wool crimson string, and throw it into the fire which is burning the cow.
  • The Kohen becomes impure: The Kohen, and the one who burned the cow, are to immerse themselves and their clothing, and they shall be impure until evening, and may then enter the camp.
  • The ash: The ash is to be gathered by a pure man and stored in a pure area outside the camp. The ash will be preserved for the Jewish people. The person who gathers the ash is to immerse his clothing, and he is impure until evening. These laws apply for all generations.

 

  1. The laws of Tumas Meis:
  • Touching corpse: One who touches a corpse of any human is impure for 7 days. He is to be purified [with the Parah ash] on the 3rd and 7th day, otherwise he remains impure. If he enters the Temple prior to being purified with the Mei Niddah, he receives Kareis.
  • Ohel Hameis: Anyone who enters the tent of a corpse is impure for 7 days. Likewise, everything in the tent shall be impure for seven days. An open vessel shall be impure.
  • Touching grave: Whoever touches a man killed by a sword, or a corpse or a human bone or a grave is impure for seven days.
  1. The process of purification:
  • Spring water is to be poured into a vessel, onto the ash of the cow

 

Sheiyni

  • A pure man is to dip Hyssop into the water and sprinkle it onto the tent, on all the vessels, and on all the people that are impure on the 3rd and 7th On the 7th day he is to immerse his clothing and body in water, and he becomes pure at night. If he enters the Temple prior to being purified with the Mei Niddah, he has defiled the Temple and will be cut off from his nation.
  • The impurification of the purifier: One who sprinkles the Niddah water must immerse his garments and one who touches the Niddah water becomes impure until evening.
  • Touching the impure person: Anything the impure person touches becomes impure until the evening.

 

  1. Miriam passes away:
  • The nation arrived at the desert of Tzin in the first month and they settled in Kadeish.
  • Miriam passed away there in Midbar Tzin and was buried there.

 

  1. The drought-Mei Meriva:
  • After Miriam’s passing, there was a drought. The nation gathered around Moshe and Aaron and fought with them [complaining that they did not have water]. “If only we would have died with our brothers. Why did you bring the congregation of G-d to this desert to die there, us and our animals? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to this evil place which has no seed or figs, grapes or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink?”
  • Moshe and Aaron left the people and entered the Ohel Moed, and fell on their faces, and Hashem’s glory appeared to them.

 

Shelishi (Sheiyni when combined with Balak)

  • Moshe hits the rock: Hashem instructed Moshe to take the staff and gather the people, and Aaron, and speak to the rock in front of them, and it will give water to them and their animals. Moshe did as Hashem instructed him, and he took the staff from before G-d. Moshe and Aaron gathered the nation before the rock and he chastised the Jewish people saying, “Listen rebels, will this rock give forth water for you?” Moshe lifted his hand and he hit the rock twice with his staff and a lot of water came out, and the congregation and their animals drank.
  • Hashem admonishes and punishes Moshe and Aaron: Hashem told Moshe and Aaron that because they did not believe in Him, and sanctify Him before the Jewish people, they will not enter into the Promised Land. This episode is called Mei Meriva as this is the area where Bnei Yisrael fought with Hashem and He was sanctified through them.

 

Revi’i

  1. Moshe asks for passage through Edom:
  • The request: Moshe sent messengers from Kadeish to the king of Edom asking permission to pass through their land. Moshe told him of all the troubles that their brother, the Jewish people have surpassed. He told him of the suffering of the Jewish people in Mitzraim and how Hashem saved them after they screamed to Him. “We are now in the city of Kadeish, which is at the edge of your border, please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through fields or vineyards and will not drink the well water. We shall travel the king’s road and not swerve right or left.”
  • The response: Edom refused to allow the Jewish people to pass, and threatened to greet them with the sword. The Jewish people replied [with a counter offer] that they will travel through the highway and drink their waters for payment. Still, the Edomites refused and they came to greet the Jewish people with a heavy army. The Jewish people [had no choice] and swerved away to a different direction.

 

Chamishi (Shelishi when combined with Balak)

  1. Aaron passes away:
  • The instructions: Bnei Yisrael traveled from Kadeish and arrived to Har Hahar. Hashem told Moshe and Aaron on Har Hahar of Aaron’s forthcoming death. “Aaron will pass away as he will not enter the promised land due to having defied Me by Mei Meriva.” Hashem told Moshe to take Aaron and Elazar up to the mountain and remove the clothing of Aaron and dress Elazar his son, and Aaron will die there.
  • The passing: Moshe did as Hashem instructed and brought them up the mountain in front of the entire nation. Moshe removed Aaron’s priestly clothing and he dressed Elazar in them. Aaron passed away on the summit of the mountain and Moshe and Elazar descended from the mountain. The entire congregation saw that Aaron passed away and they cried [and mourned] his passing for thirty days.

 

  1. Amaleik attacks Klal Yisrael:
  • The Canaanite king of Arad who dwells in the south [and is otherwise known as Amelik] heard that the Jewish people are in the vicinity, and they fought against the Jewish people and captured a captive.
  • The vow: Bnei Yisrael made a vow to Hashem that if He gives this nation into their hands, and they win the battle, they will consecrate all of the city spoils to the Temple. Hashem heard their pleas and handed the Canaanites to their hands.
  • The victory: Bnei Yisrael captured the nation and their cities and consecrated it for Hashem. That area was called Charmah.
  1. Complaint against water and food and the subsequent plague of snakes:
  • The complaint: The Jewish people traveled past Har Hahar and circumvented the land of Edom. The nation became tired of the travel and complained against Hashem and Moshe asking why he took them out of Egypt to die in the desert. “There is no food or water and we have reached our limit with the insubstantial bread.”
  • The plague of snakes: Hashem smote the nation with burning snakes and they bit the Jewish people, and many people died. The Jewish people remorsefuly came to Moshe confessing to their sin of speaking against him and Hashem. They asked Moshe to Daven for them to Hashem and remove the snakes. Moshe Davened on their behalf.
  • The cure: Hashem instructed Moshe to make a snake and place it around a pole and whoever was bitten is to look at it and live. Moshe did as he was instructed and made a copper snake, placing it by the pole. Whoever was bitten by the snake would look at the copper snake and live.

 

Shishi

  1. The travels of Bnei Yisrael:
  • Bnei Yisrael traveled and camped in Ovos. They traveled from Ovos and camped in Iyei Ha’avarim, which faces Moav at the east. From there they traveled and camped in the Valley of Zered. From there they traveled and encamped on the other side of Arnon, which is on the border between Moav and the Emorites.
  • The failed ambush: [The Emorites were killed by Hashem as they attempted an ambush. The mountains came together and crushed them in their caves. The well revealed the great miracle to the Jewish people and hence] the Jewish people sang praise to Hashem for the well.

 

Shevi’i

  1. War with Sichon and Og:
  • The request: The Jewish people sent messengers to Sichon the Emorite king asking permission to pass through his land. “Let us pass through your land. We will not pass through fields or vineyards and will not drink the well water. We shall travel the king’s road until we cross your border.”
  • The battle with Sichon: Sichon refused entry to the Jewish people and he gathered his entire nation to greet the Jewish people in the desert and wage war with them. Bnei Yisrael waged a successful war against Sichon and conquered all of his cities and settled in them.
  • The battle of Yaazor: Moshe sent spies to Yaazor and they conquered the city and drove out the Emorites from there.
  • The battle of Og: They left from there towards Bashan and Og. The king of Bashan came to battle them with all of his nation. Hashem told Moshe not to fear Og as he, his nation, and his land, will be delivered to his hands, just as was done with Sichon. Og and his entire nation were smitten to the point of no survivors and they took possession of his land.
  • The Jewish people traveled and encamped in the plains of Moav, opposite the Jordon, near Yericho.

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