Shabbat Shalom! – Chukat

Image: A red heifer (pixabay)

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat (khoo-KAHT) contains several difficult passages of Torah: the ritual of the “red heifer,” a special purification rite, the deaths of Aaron and Miriam, and a terrible mistake by Moses. These are also stories about the difficult relations between the Israelites and the desert peoples.

As one of the rabbis below points out, the shadow of death hangs over Parashat Chukat. Two important figures die; another learns something about his own death. The news has been very difficult this week: deaths by violence, terrorism, horrors. Torah does not avoid difficult topics, rather it can help us center ourselves to cope with difficult times.

Read these divrei Torah to learn more:

The Gift of Grief by Rabbi Lisa Edwards

Obituary for Miriam the Prophetess by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

The Smith Speaks by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Chukat by Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

On Being Effective by Rabbi Peter J. Rubenstein

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

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