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Parsha Chukas

This week’s Parsha is filled with the mystery of Chukas (statues given to Israel even though the rational reasons for them are not apparent). One of those Chukas is the Parah Edumah (Red Cow). Rashi brings some fascinating insights into this mystery and a profound understanding from P’Shat (Plain meaning) , and the Baal Haturim also brings some Remez’s (hinted elucidation) which further develop this idea that are both revelatory to the follower of Yeshua, as well as to the Orthodox Jewish person who may not have looked at it in quite the way I see it as a follower of Yeshua. I will start with P’shat and move through the differing understandings of this profoundly important and mysterious statue.

Let’s start with Rashi and his understanding of this passage in the P’shat. Rashi on Bamidbar 19:9 states the following “and place them outside the camp: He divided it into three parts; one was put on the Mount of Olives, one was divided among all the watches, and one who put on the rampart surrounding the Temple area. The one given to the watches was outside the courtyard, allowing access to it for the inhabitants of outlying cities, whoever needed to purify himself. The one on the Mount of Olives was for the kohanim gedolim to sanctify themselves from it for use with other [red] cows. The one put on the rampart was kept as a keepsake by Scriptural ruling, as it says, "It shall be as a keepsake for the congregation of Israel. — [Sifrei Chukath 30, Parah 3:11 Tosefta.] and Rashi continues “For purification: חַטָּאת, an expression of cleansing (חִטּוּי), according to its simple meaning, but according to its halachoth, Scripture calls it חַטָּאת, “sin--offering,” to tell us that it is like holy objects and using it for personal benefit is forbidden. — [Sifrei Chukath 34]” He relates the Parah Adumah to sin offering as well. The Talmud in Chullin 27A mentions that this cleansing is also related to Chetas “Rav Kahana says: From where is it derived with regard to slaughter that it isperformed from the neck? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And he shall slaughter [veshaḥat] the young bull before the Lord” (Leviticus 1:5), which is interpreted homiletically: From the place where the animal bends [shaḥ], purify it [ḥattehu] through slaughter. The Gemara asks: From wheredoes one ascertain that this term, ḥattehu, is an expression of purification?The Gemara answers: It is ascertained from a verse, as it is written: “And he shall purify [veḥitte] the house” (Leviticus 14:52). And if you wish, sayinstead that it is ascertained from here: “Purge me [teḥatte’eni] with hyssop and I will be pure” (Psalms 51:9).

ואימא מזנבו שח מכלל שזקוף בעינן והא שח ועומד הוא ואימא מאזנו בעינן דם הנפש וליכא

The Gemara challenges: And say that slaughter is from its tail, which is also a place in the animal’s body that is bent.

The Gemara responds: From the term: Bends [shaḥ], one can conclude by inference that we require a part of the animal’s body that can stand erect and that bends; and this, the tail, is bent perpetually and is never erect. The Gemara challenges: And say that slaughter is from its ear, which is erect and bends. The Gemara explains: We require that slaughter be performed on a part of the animal’s body from which blood of the soul is spilled, and when one cuts the ear there is no blood of the soul spilled. We can note two things here, one that the same word for sin (Chetas) is also related to purification (Chatas) and that this is not accomplished unless the blood of the soul is spilled in this process. This is true of all Chetas sacrifices but particularly true of the Parah Adumah which takes care of sins unknown and is regarded as a mystery only Moshe Rabbeinu knew why it was and will be done. It is also interesting to note that the Parah Adumah was slaughtered outside the camp as Rashi states “Outside the camp: Outside all three camps. — [Yoma 68a] And slaughter it in his presence: A non-- kohen slaughters it while Eleazar watches. — [Yoma 42a] Also indicating a place of impurity in all who are involved with the mystery of the Parah Adumah.

So to summarize the P’shat meanings of the text we want to see what exactly Rashi seems to be focusing on in a number of these Passukim, he notes that it must be on the Mount of Olives, where the ashes are to be deposited, we know from the Passuk itself that it must include Hyssop, Cedarwood, the Parah Adumah, Water, and a Crimson Cloth, and also that it is a sin offering, all this comes from the P’shat of Rashi. Moving into the Baal Haturim who brings out some quite frankly amazing Remezim (hints) about this Parsha as well. The Baal Haturim on 19:9 again brings this Remez (hint) to add to our understanding from Rashi “He shall gather. The Masoretic note Gimmel means that this word appears three times in the Tanach. Here, and a pure man shall gather, and the metzora shall gather (2 Kings 5:11) and he will gather the castaways of Israel (Isaiah 11:12) The similarity of expression here and in Kings alludes to a Talmudic statement A Metzora is likened to a corpse. Moreover, just as the ashes of the Red Cow impart purity so too, the prayers of the righteous impart purity.” The Talmudic section that talks about a Metzora being counted as a dead person is here in Nedarim 64B “

אריב"ל כל אדם שאין לו בנים חשוב כמת שנאמר (בראשית ל, א) הבה לי בנים ואם אין מתה אנכי ותניא ארבעה חשובין כמת עני ומצורע וסומא ומי שאין לו בנים עני דכתיב כי מתו כל האנשים מצורע דכתיב (במדבר יב, יב) אל נא תהי כמת וסומא דכתיב (איכה ג, ו) במחשכים הושיבני כמתי עולם ומי שאין לו בנים דכתיב הבה לי בנים ואם אין מתה אנכי

The Gemara relates: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Any person who does not have children is considered like a dead person. The source is as is statedin the words Rachel said to Jacob: “Give me children, or else I am dead”(Genesis 30:1). And it was taught in a baraita: Four are considered as if they were dead: A pauper, and a leper, and a blind person, and one who has no children. A pauper, as it is written: “For all the men are dead” (Exodus 4:19). As explained above, they were not actually dead but had descended into poverty, and yet they were considered dead. A leper, as it is written that Aaron said to Moses with regard to Miriam’s leprosy: “Let her not, I pray, be as one dead” (Numbers 12:12). And a blind person, as it is written: “He has made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead”(Lamentations 3:6). And one who has no children, as it is written: “Give me children, or else I am dead” (Genesis 30:1).

The Baal Haturim continues drawing some amazing Remezim in this Passuk.

“And the similarity of expression in the three verses also alludes to the Time of Moshiach And he will gather the castaways of Israel, in the future, at which time the metzora will gather, i.e will be cured, as it is written then the lame man will skip like a gazelle, and at that time they will no longer need the ashes of the Red Cow, as it is written he will have swallowed up death forever. “ It is also interesting to note regarding this that in the Talmud we also have a reference to the Metzora and Moshiach here in Sanhedrin 98b “ And the Rabbis say: The leper of the house of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is his name, as it is stated: “Indeed our illnesses he did bear and our pains he endured; yet we did esteem him injured, stricken by God, and afflicted”(Isaiah 53:4).”

And even more interesting is that in Isaiah 11 an anagram of Moshiachs name in Isaiah 11:1 is Yeshu Notzr In the words Yishi v’Notzr. Which would fit perfectly with the Rashi and Baal Haturim so far, but of course this is not where it all ends. The Baal Haturim relates this even more in 20:1, Where he states “In the first month. The Torah juxtaposed this with the passage concerning the Red Cow because it was the first month (Nissan) that the cow was burned.(the Second day of Nissan)-“my thoughts are that it is the same day as the death of Moshiach) and the Baal Haturim continues “Additionally: it is in accordance with that which our Sages of blessed Memory have expounded. The death of the righteous provides atonement, just as does the Red Cow. Indeed the Gematria of Red Cow is 341, and is equivalent to that of It atones. And similarly in our verse Miriam died there and she was buried there, the gematria of Sham being 340 is equal to that of Mikipur it atones.” Here is the Talmud for where we find the death of the Righteous atones for sin “Rabbi Ami said: Why was the Torah portion that describes the death of Miriam juxtaposed to the portion dealing with the red heifer? To tell you: Just as the red heifer atones for sin, so too, the death of the righteous atones for sin. Rabbi Elazar said: Why was the Torah portion that describes the death of Aaron juxtaposed to the portion discussing the priestly garments? This teaches that just as the priestly garments atone for sin, so too, the death of the righteous atones for sin.” How much more so- for Moshiach. For whom We read about his death as coming from Joseph in Sukkah 52A “ We will look on him whom we have pierced and mourn for him as an only son. ……will it be a levaya for the evil inclination or for Moshiach from Joseph.

Some things to consider as I leave off this very long blog. The Ramban notes about the Parah Adumah in Parshas Metzora “And Cedar wood, and Scarlet, and Hyssop. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra commented that the Cedar Wood and the Hyssop represent the tallest and lowest species in vegetation, as is evidenced by the words of Solomon. Thus the law of the Leper and the law of the house stricken with leprosy and the law of impurity conveyed by a corpse are closely related, and they resemble the Passover in Egypt. And the meaning of the expression into the open field is to an uninhabitated place, so that no infection might be caused. ….. the reason why it is sent into the open field is like the secret of the goat sent to Azazel, except that there it is sent for Azazel into the wilderness, and here it is sent to the destructive flying forces of of the Field…..Now if you can understand the secret of the word after Azazel you will know it’s secret, and the secret of it’s name….. when you will get to 33 you will know it.”

These connections for me all point to Yeshua being Moshiach, his name literally appears in Isaiah, at his death you have the cedar wood, (on which he was hung) Hyssop which is dipped with wine to him, a scarlet cloth that is around him, the Mount of Olives where he prayed often, and was betrayed to his death, water coming out of his side, the death of righteous producing atonement for Israel, being outside the camp, Moshiach’s name being associated with Metzora which is one who is not from the living, he died at age 33. This of course is the secrets that only Moshe Rabbeinu knew, and which has been relayed to me by a Mesorah stemming from Yeshua himself. It may be difficult to understand, I get that but at least consider our sages who agree with all said above accept that Yeshua is Moshiach, in this instance I choose to turn from the majority, as we learned in last weeks portion to turn from the majority is necessary if the prophet is a true one. The Guelah is here, Moshiach is here with us all we must do is open our eyes that it is Yeshua, the one from Edom, the Issur HaIsh, then Torah and Mitzvahs will bring the Olam Haba, the Guelah, and Gan Eden. We want the Guelah now!

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