Holy Cow and the Constitution
Parshat Para, the supplementary reading of the Torah which Jews throughout the world will hear this Shabbat in their synagogues, begins with the words “This is the chuka of the Torah.”
The word chuka has been adopted by Israeli legislators as the term for the constitution they wish to draft and approve in the first session of the newly elected Knesset.
The opposition of the religious community to this chuka underscores the paradoxical nature of the ashes of the Red Heifer, which is the subject of this Torah chapter. While those who had the ashes sprinkled upon them became purified from the ritual impurity suffered from contact with the dead, those who dealt with the ashes became impure. Secular legislators who have abandoned the Torah as the only genuine constitution of our Chosen People mistakenly assume that their man-made chuka will cure all the problems of ’s parliamentary system. However, on the contrary, they will be causing serious problems for those Jews who view our G-d-given constitution as the only guarantee for forever.