This week in Torah


June 23, 2018 – Chukat (Statute) – Parshat 39

  • Torah: Numbers 19:1-22:1
  • Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33
  • Brit Chadasha: John 19:38-42

וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃ זֹ֚את חֻקַּ֣ת הַתּוֹרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר דַּבֵּ֣ר ׀ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְיִקְח֣וּ אֵלֶיךָ֩ פָרָ֨ה אֲדֻמָּ֜ה תְּמִימָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר אֵֽין־בָּהּ֙ מ֔וּם אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־עָלָ֥ה עָלֶ֖יהָ עֹֽל׃

Vayedaber Adonay el-Moshe ve’el-Aharon lemor: Zot chukat hatorah asher-tsivah Adonay lemor daber el-beney Yisra’el veyikchu eleycha farah adumah tmimah asher eyn-bah mum asher lo-alah aleyha ol.

The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: This is the ritual law that the LORD has commanded: Instruct the Israelite people to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid.

Bemidbar 19:9&10 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up outside of the camp in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water for impurity: it is a sin offering. He who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the evening: and it shall be to the children of Israel, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them, for a statute forever.

After giving the Chukat of the Parah Adumah (red cow) whose ashes mixed with water are Chatat (sin-purification (Bemidbar 19:9)) or waters of purification, Miriam dies and so we immediately deal with mortality.

Torah says ” There was no water for the congregation: and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. The people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying, “We wish that we had died when our brothers died before the LORD! (Numbers 20:2&3) Adonai gave water for purification from sin and death in the Chukat, but withholds the water from the rock to test the hearts of those remaining in the assembly. Who would be like their brothers that died before the LORD in rebellion with Korach?

Their response is chilling “Why have you made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in to this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” (Numbers 20:5) Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces before Hashem and Adonai says to Moshe “Speak to The Rock before their eyes”. This rock is the same Rock from which they have been receiving water during all their wandering in the wilderness, it had already been struck once, only speak to it now! The sages taught that the Rock followed Israel thru the wilderness. Yeshua in the same way never leaves His people in the wilderness but walks with us to sustain us unto the promised kingdom and offers the water of life (even of purification). He was struck once, it was all that was required, only speak to Him now to receive the life giving water you need.

Rav Shaul (the apostle Paul) says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 “Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Messiah.” Paul’s Drash draws upon known teachings about The Rock as Messianic and simply identifies Him – Yeshua!

Another Midrash says “This miraculous water-giving rock was always present in the wilderness with the children of Israel. When the people camped, it rested in a high place opposite the entrance of the tent of Meeting … Whenever the Jews encamped, grass, trees, vines, figs, and pomegranates sprang up at it’s edge. The vines produced seven differently flavored grapes. The children of Israel tasted in the water and plants produced by the well of Miriam the goodness of the world to come. [Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says (5 vols.; Brooklyn, NY: Benai Yakov, 1980), 4:262.]

In the Midrash we see the water from The Rock is a foretaste of the water Yeshua offers at Yacob’s well, and the fruits by the river of life in Revelation. “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) “He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.” (Revelation 22:1-3)

Speak to The Rock and receive life eternal and all the sweetness of the fruits of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh along the edge of “Rivers of living water”. (John 7:38)

Shalom Mish’pachah from Beth Hallel Lodi