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Shababth Shalom

Few professions are as cruel and inhumane as the fattening of calves for slaughter. So when Pinchas slew Zimri, many said: "Look at this holy zealot! He acts as if motivated by the desire to avenge the honor of G-d and save the people, but, in truth, he has merely found a holy outlet for his cruel and violent nature. After all, it's in his blood--just look at his maternal grandfather..." So G-d described him as "Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aaron" in order to attest that in character and temperament he actually took after his paternal grandfather--the compassionate and peace-loving Aaron.
The true greatness of Pinchas lay in that he acted in complete opposition to his nature, transcending his inborn instincts to bring peace between G-d and Israel.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

Ima Tiri

Singer Amir Benayoun has a new song, “Ima Tiri” (“Mother, look”), about the return to Hevron. Among those who heard it was 85-year-old Shlomo Slonim, whose mother, father and brother were slain in the massacre.
Shlomo, who was a one-year-old baby at the time, survived with serious injuries that affect his life to this day.
When he heard the song, Slonim decided he wanted to meet the men who wrote it. Benayoun and co-writer Moshe Klughept were happy to oblige.
The men met Friday morning in Slonim’s home in Raanana. The home provides silent testimony to Slonim’s personal story: the walls hold pictures of the family that died when he was a baby, and research on the massacre sits on his bookshelves.


Shabbath Shalom

In everything that G-d taught Moses, He would tell him both the manner of contamination and the manner of purification. When G-d came to the laws concerning one who comes in contact with a dead body, Moses said to Him: "Master of the universe! If one is thus contaminated, how may he be purified?" G-d did not answer him. At that moment, the face of Moses turned pale.
When G-d came to the section of the red heifer, He said to Moses: "This is its manner of purification." Said Moses to G-d: "Master of the universe! This is a purification?" Said G-d: "Moses, it is a chok, a decree that I have decreed, and no creature can fully comprehend My decrees."
(Midrash Rabbah)


jewish property...

This is Israel: Inside the IDF


"If you were there and the Romans or the Babylonians were about to destroy Jerusalem and you had the power to do something about it, would you sit and mourn and cry? Or would you turn the world upside down to change history? So what is stopping you? Overturn the world today!"
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson  - Lubavitcher Rebbe

a little bit of music

"Shabbos Now" by 8th Day

Chukat - The lying connection

cc: flicker by cogdogblog 2009/365/309 Snake on a Stick

by Rabbi Mira Raz ‏

What is the connection between the verse in our parasha (Numbers 21:9): “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived.” And the verse in Kings II (18:4) that tells about Hezekiah the son of Ahaz the king of Judah: “He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah; and he broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the children of Israel did offer to it; and it was called Nehushtan.”
The connection is a lie (in Hebrew connection – kesher, lie – sheker) and I will explain:
The People of Israel were fed up with the difficult living conditions in the desert. It was not the hunger, they were not hungry, but the unvaried food, compared with the food in Egypt where they had zucchinis, watermelons, onions and garlic. There is no vision and faith in the way and in its end, there are only complaints and misunderstandings – for what is all this… the result of all this was: “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died.” (Numbers 21:6).
It is as if the Torah wants to tell us that as the snake in Garden of Eden separated between man and God and the natural unity between the spirit and its source was broken, so, every time that the People of Israel will be impatient and will not be ready for the difficulties of the journey to the Promised Land, they will burn themselves and the idea.
If it is so, how will they be nevertheless saved?
First of all, from the understanding that our attitude is wrong, especially in the light of the fact that nothing good came out of constant complaints, there is a feeling of depression and a death of the vision. As a result of this the response of the people was: “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee” and then they add: “pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us.” (ibid 7). Here we come to the heart of the story.

Tzarich Iyun: The Parah Adumah

Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky

Misconception:The person who sprinkles the ashes of a parah adumah (“red heifer”) on a tamei (ritually impure) person becomes tamei himself.

Fact: Most of the people involved in preparing the ashes become tamei, but the one who sprinkles the water with the ashes does not.

Background: Among the various types of tumah (ritual impurities) enumerated in the Torah, the kind acquired from direct contact with a human corpse is unique. One who acquires such tumah is considered a “tamei met,” and in addition to the standard ritual immersion required to remove tumah, the Torah mandates that he be sprinkled with ashes of a parah adumah (“parat chatat”) on the third and seventh day after such contact.[1] The cow used must be completely red, [2] older than three years (Parah 1:1), with no physical blemishes.[3] Furthermore, the cow must have been purchased by the beit din with Temple funds for the purpose of preparing the requisite ashes, and have never worked (Shekalim 4:2).
The details of the preparation are outlined in Parashat Chukat (Bamidbar 19). Unlike sacrifices, all of which took place within the Temple precinct, the parah adumah ritual took place outside the Temple precinct. When the Temple stood, the ritual of the parah adumah took place outside of the municipal borders of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives (Middot 2:4).[4] Additionally, similar to sacrifices, a non-kohen was qualified to slaughter the parah adumah.
The blood of the parah adumah was then collected by a kohen who sprinkled it seven times in the direction of the Holy of Holies. The entire animal—skin, meat, blood and all—was then burnt and pieces of erez (cedar), ezov (hyssop), and sheni tola’at (scarletdyed wool) were added to the conflagration; the ashes were then collected and stored.
Spring water was collected in a vessel and sanctified as ashes were mixed into it. The water was called “mei niddah” by the Torah and “mei chatat”[5] by Chazal.
This entire process, replete with myriad technical regulations, had one purpose—to purify tamei individuals. All those involved in the process were required to be tahor. Many stringencies applied to those involved in the ritual of the parah adumah—more than applied even to those performing the avodah in the Temple! Nevertheless, an individual involved in the ritual of the parah adumah was permitted to be a tvul yom, i.e., a tamei person who immersed in the mikvah and is only fully tahor after the sun sets. The Tzeddukim (Sadducees) believed, however, that a tvul yom was not permitted to participate in the preparation of the ritual. (Consequently, to reinforce this halachah, the rabbis insisted that after all the stringencies were observed and there was absolutely no doubt that the individual selected to perform the ritual was tahor, he should be then be intentionally defiled so that he could have the status of a tvul yom!)