MidrESHET Hayil

Friday, July 1, 2011

Parashat Hukat

Please learn in the zekhut of the Refuah Shelema Bekarov of Sarah bat Morvarid and Shahin Shemuel Chai ben Hadassah. Thank you! Tizku lemissvot rabot!
Parashat Hukat takes its name after the hok of Para Adumah. A hok is a missva given to us that seems not to have an explanation, that seems to lack a motive.  Some missvot, like sedaka, have a logical reason behind them; these are called mishpatim. Others, like sha’atnez and Parah Adumah, may seem confusing to considering that we may not understand their purpose while we are doing them; these are called hukim. Even if we do not understand why we are doing them, we must execute these hukim to the best of our ability exactly as HaKadosh Barukh Hu instructs us to without compromising or rationalizing any part of the missva. Sometimes, we may not feel that the motive of the missva is important enough and we tend to overlook certain details or the entire missva altogether; this is arrogant thinking. By doing so, we are implying that we know better, that it is our mentality that is correct, that our actions are the epitome of the missva. Although we do not understand the workings behind the missva of Parah Adumah, it is the highest form of purification of Am Yisrael.
When Miriam Haneviah passes away, the Be’er Miram, the well that existed in her merit, ceased to provide water for Am Yisrael. When they began to complain to Moshe Rabbenu that they are thirsty, HaKadosh Barukh Hu instructs Moshe to speak to the rock with the motive of providing water for Am Yisrael to drink. Famously, Moshe strikes the rock instead of speaking to it. What happened here? Why was this the very reason why he was not allowed to enter Eress Yisrael? When Moshe Rabbenu was revealed the motive behind interacting with the rock, He dealt with the matter in order to reach the objective. He figured as long as the end product is acquired, I am able to do it my way. This showed a certain arrogance on Moshe Rabbenu’s behalf.  He told Am Yisrael ‘Nossi Lakhem Mayim’ , we will bring forth water for you. ‘We’ and not HaShem. Already, Moshe begins to take matters into his own hands, and this is where we find his fault.
Had Hakadosh Barukh Hu just instructed Moshe to speak to the rock without mentioning the cause, as odd as it may have seemed, would Moshe not have spoken to the rock? Surely, he would have. This is how we can view hukim. As unusual and uncomfortable as a commandment may seem, it can even serve to our benefit not to know the reason why we are doing them. Sometimes when we are not told exactly why we are do something, we are more inclined to do them correctly, as directed. If we knew the reason behind all the missvot, we would start to rationalize and compromise certain elements because we believe they may not be as important to us as they really are. Perhaps, this is why HaShems identity is concealed; if we knew who He was exactly, we would be less inclined to become closer to Him and serve Him impeccably.
Sometimes, it is not about WHY we do things, it is HOW we do them. Either way, Moshe Rabbenu’s goal was to draw water from the rock. The difference was in HOW he brought forth the water; the difference between speaking and hitting. At times, our intentions are pure, we want to do the right thing, but are we speaking softly or are we using a big stick? Do we do things the way we are supposed to, or are we taking the easy way out doing it our way? Do we do things to glorify the name of HaShem or are we doing the same exact thing but only for our name and fame?? HaKadosh Barukh Hu tells Moshe, ‘Ya’an lo he’emantem bi lehakdisheni’; by hitting the rock, you didn’t believe in me to sanctify my name. Although Moshe finally produced water from the rock, although the goal was achieved, He defeated the purpose of doing so; he did not glorify HaShem’s name. At times, we think we are properly executing the missvot, but we must ensure that we are not defeating its purpose! Are we making a Kiddush HaShem? Are we doing the missvot for the sake of becoming closer to our Creator? If we are doing the missvot for their true purpose, and not just to clear out consciences, we would never ask ‘Why?’
Wishing everybody a Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorakh!!!!
Ariella Samimi

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