Parsha Q&A - Parshat Chukat
on the week ending July 15, 2000 / 12 Tamuz 5760
In Israel for the week ending July 8, 2000 / 5 Tamuz 5760
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- "Take a perfect para aduma (red heifer)." What does the word "perfect" -- temima -- mean in this context?
- How many non-red hairs disqualify a cow as a para aduma?
- A man dies in a tent. What happens to the sealed metal and earthenware utensils in the tent?
- What happens to the one who: a) sprinkles the water mixed with the ashes of the para aduma; b) touches the water; c) carries the water?
- Why was the mitzvah of the para aduma entrusted to Elazar rather than to Aharon?
- Why does the Torah stress that all of the congregation came to Midbar Tzin?
- Why is Miriam's death taught after the laws of para aduma?
- During their journey in the midbar, in whose merit did the Jewish People receive water?
- Why did Moshe need to strike the rock a second time?
- When Moshe told the King of Edom that the Jewish People would not drink from the well-water, to which well did he refer? What do we learn from this?
- The cloud that led the Jewish People leveled all mountains in their path except three. Which three and why?
- Why did the entire congregation mourn Aharon's death?
- What disappeared when Aharon died?
- Which "inhabitant of the South" (21:1) attacked the Jews?
- For what two reasons did Hashem punish the people with snakes specifically?
- Why did the Jewish People camp in Arnon, rather than pass through Moav to enter Eretz Canaan?
- What miracle took place at the valley of Arnon?
- What was the "strength" of Amon that prevented the Jewish People from entering into their land?
- Why was Moshe afraid of Og?
- Who killed Og?
(kasha means "question")
Lloyd Quinnstein from Leeds wrote:
Why was Aharon punished for the incident of the water from the rock? According to the text, it seems Aharon played no role there. If Moshe was punished for hitting the rock instead of speaking to it, what did Aharon do wrong?
Dear Lloyd Quinnstein,
According to the commentary of the Abarbanel, you're right: Aharon was not being punished for the incident of the water from the rock; rather, he was denied entry into the Land of Israel because of his role in the Golden Calf. But because his intentions had been pure (he agreed to make the calf only in order to stall the people until Moshe's return, hoping thus to minimize their guilt) the Torah downplays the "golden calf" aspect of his punishment, and instead faults him here in the relatively minor sin of the incident of the water from the rock.
When Miriam died, the people didn't properly eulogize and mourn for her, because they didn't realize the extent of her greatness. So Hashem made the water cease when she died, showing the people that for 40 years in the desert, the water flowed in her merit.
Adapted from Kli Yakar
All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated
19:2 - Perfectly red.
19:2 - Two.
19:14,15 - The metal utensils are impure for seven days, even if they are sealed. The sealed earthenware vessels are unaffected.
19:21 - a) Remains tahor; b) He, but not his clothing, contracts tumah; c) He and his clothing contract tumah.
19:22 - Because Aharon was involved in the sin of the golden calf.
20:1 - To teach that they were all fit to enter the Land; everyone involved in the sin of the spies already died.
20:1 - To teach that just as sacrifices bring atonement, so too does the death of the righteous.
20:2 - Miriam's.
20:11 - After he hit it the first time, only a few drops came out since he was commanded to speak to it.
20:17 - To the well that traveled with the nation in the midbar. This teaches that even if one has adequate provisions he should purchase goods from his host in order to benefit the host.
20:22 - Har Sinai for receiving the Torah, Har Nevo for Moshe's burial, and Hor Hahar for Aharon's burial.
20:29 - Aharon made peace between contending parties and between spouses. Thus, everybody mourned him.
20:29 - The clouds of glory disappeared, since they sheltered the Jews in Aharon's merit.
21:1 - Amalek.
21:6 - The original snake, who was punished for speaking evil, is fitting to punish those who spoke evil about Hashem and about Moshe. And the snake, for whom everything tastes like dust, is fitting to punish those who complained about the manna which changed to any desired taste.
21:13 - Moav refused them passage.
21:15 - The Amorites hid in caves in the mountain on the Moabite side of the valley in order to ambush the Jews. When the Jews approached, the mountain on the Eretz Canaan side of the valley moved close to the other mountain and the Amorites were crushed.
21:24 - Hashem's command, "Do not harass them" (Devarim 2:19).
21:34 - Og had once been of service to Avraham. Moshe was afraid that this merit would assist Og in battle.
21:35 - Moshe.
Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Michael Treblow
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