Simcha's Torah Stories - Chukat

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Chukat


Chaim, how red was the Parah Adumah (red cow)?

Avi, do you mean the red cow from the times of the Beis HaMikdash whose ashes were used to purify people who had come in contact with dead bodies?

That is the Parah Adumah that I am talking about.

It was so red that if it had just two black hairs it was posul (unfit for use).

That is really red, Chaim. It must have been very rare. I never saw a cow with hair that was all one color. And I never saw a red cow at all.

It was very, very rare, Avi. In fact, it was so rare that it was worth a lot of money. Whoever was fortunate enough to have one born into his flock became a wealthy man.

Do you know, Chaim, there is a famous story in the Talmud and the Medrash about a man who merited having a Parah Adumah born in his flock.

Who was he Avi?

His name was Damma Ben Nesina. He was a Gentile who lived in Ashkelon. Do you remember what the garments of the Kohen Godol looked like?


The Choshen (breastplate) had twelve precious gems, one for each tribe. One of the gems was lost, and Damma Ben Nesina had the gem to replace it. The sages went to him to buy the stone. They settled upon 1000 gold pieces, a fair price. Damma Ben Nesina entered his father's room to get the stone. He found his father sleeping with his leg on top of the box that contained the stone. He did not want to disturb his father's sleep, so he left the room empty handed.

The sages probably thought that he was trying to get a better price.

Exactly. They upped the price, but he refused. They offered an even higher price, but he would not wake his father. This was how much he valued the mitzvah of honoring his parents. He turned down great sums of money to avoid disturbing his father's sleep.

I must hear the end of the story, Avi, or I won't be able to sleep tonight.

When his father finally woke up, the price was up to 10,000 gold pieces!

Wow! What a profit!

Damma Ben Nesina refused to take more than the original offer of 1000 gold pieces. He put off the sale because he respected his father. Not because he wanted to make a profit.

That's a great story, Avi, but what is the connection to the Parah Adumah?

That very year, G-d sent a reward to Damma Ben Nesina. A Parah Adumah was born in his flock. He sold it for much more than 10,000 gold pieces that he was offered for the gem.

Look at how great the mitzvah of honoring parents is.

That is exactly what the Medrash says, Chaim.

I have a lot of room for improvement in this area, Avi.

We all do Chaim. Let's start today. When our fathers come home tonight, let's roll out the "red carpet" for them.

What a great idea, Avi! If we give our fathers the "red carpet" treatment, maybe G-d will give us the "red cow" as a reward.

Chaim, may the "red" reward be all yours.

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