Parshat Chukat - bring clarity to our lives
Welcome, once again to the mysteries and depths of our holy Torah: the mysteries of the פרה אדומה Red Heifer, Miriam’s well, the passing on of Aharon HaKohen, the mystery of Moshe Rabbeinu hitting the rock… and there are more and more. These mysteries touch every secret every mystery of our lives.
In this blog, we bring some ideas to make this relevant for us today
This week's parsha is called "ChuKat", [which is the word "Chok" in the construct state.]
Reb Shlomo's Torah
Chukat - Davening For A Gift
Imagine I am learning something and I don’t understand what I am learning, happens all the time. Do you keep on thinking about what you are learning because you want to be able to say ‘I understood it so well’? You know what happens then, even if you get it – you will never really get it. Reb Nachman says the real explanation of the Torah, the mefarshei Hatorah, comes from such a deep place; where my mind doesn't reach. All I have to ask G-d “please give it to me as a gift.” If you ask G-d on the level of merit, water doesn’t coming out. So Moshe Rabbeinu hit the stone, he wanted to force it. If you want to get water with power, you don’t really get that which you thought you wanted. G-d says to him “don’t hit the stone” because the flowing of the stone, which is the explanations of the Torah, cannot come by force. Not even from Moshe Rabbeinu who was holy force. It has to come from davening, from rachamim, from compassion. Reb Nachman says that when Moshe Rabbeinu hit the stone twice, he was making two mistakes, which had to with force. He said you got to give it to me because I deserve it. But even Moshe Rabbeinu can’t get it by force. The second thing is that when you do something by force it means you want it right now. You can ask G-d for anything, but while you ask you have to say to G-d “whenever the time is right – give it to me.” So therefore Reb Nachman says don’t force G-d, just ask. G-d says to Moshe “Ya'an Lo He'emantem Bi L’Hakdisheyni,” why didn’t you make me holy? So Reb Nachman says that 'holy' means if I’m only asking for a gift. Therefore Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t go to Eretz Yisrael because Eretz Yisrael is mamesh called 'holy'. I’ll tell you something very deep. When I’m asking you something on such a deep compassionate level without any force, you give it to me right away. But if you tell me “you got to do it for me right away” than you are already taking it back a little.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Are You Ready To Go Into Mud on Chukat
In this video, Reb Shlomo talks about sometimes you need to get dirty to save somebody – how the pure becomes impure by saving by who somebody who is not pure.
The mitzvot can be categorized in a variety of ways. One way is to distinguish between 'chukim' and 'mishpatim'. 'Mishpatim' are mitzvot that we can grasp or understood intellectually, e.g. don’t steal, don't go tale-bearing, etc. 'Chukim', on the other hand, are mitzvot that are partially understood, but only partially. In the case of the Red Heifer, we cannot understand the mitzvah at all, and therefore it is distinguished by the phrase, "zot ChuKaT Hatorah",
Message for Today - We live in a world where things are not rational and not understood with many contradictions. All the machlokes in the world starts to take place when there is a lack of clarity, when there is no one to ‘meva’er’ the Torah. So here Reb Nachman says that all the people who explain the Torah are called Morim (Teachers). Morim comes from the word 'Miriam', because Miriam was the one who had the well. Therefore, if you want to explain the Torah, your words have to be on the level of fire; the words have to be 'K’gachalei Eish', like a coal of fire.
You can drink all the cool, refreshing water you want, but at some point, you have to accept the fact that to face the divine means to embrace fire. Sooner or later, in one's relationship with G‑d, the study of Torah must move from academic detachment to personal exhilaration and passion. And this excitement is only to be found by studying the Torah's inner dimensions, its spiritual truths and esoteric secrets.
And this happens with the opening of the high heart, the lev ha’elyon.
What is lev ha’eelyon (Higher heart) ? Reb Nachman says there is something called a lev ha’elyon and lev hatachton. In my heart itself there are two compartments - a lower heart and a higher heart.
‘hadibur Nimshach Milev Ha'elyon’. The lower heart has to do with learning, the high heart is all about crying and davening. Why is it when someone pours out their hearts they are moved? Which heart of them is moved? The high heart. Words which come from the high heart are always hot like fiery coals. When you talk with your low heart the words you speak are cold, when you talk with your high heart - your words are fire.
So Reb Nachman says that when you teach Torah, it has to be on the level of compassion. Not on the level of love or on the level of strength, but it has to be on the level of compassion. Loving or strength, which are the attributes of chesed or gevurah, can still be with my low heart. Compassion comes from my high heart. To teach with love is a very high level, but compassion is giving on the high heart level.
Reb Nachman says that before you learn you have to pour out your heart in order to open the high heart. After this happens, G-d opens the high heart and your words become hot like coals. Something happens to you; you open your inside ‘well’ and then your words start to flow like water from a well. The words themselves become infinite words, which are mamesh flowing.
Question to ponder – Just like we plan before we do something, Do we pray before we do something important?
So what happens in our parsha? Right before Moshe Rabbeinu hits the stone he says ‘Shim'u Na Hamorim’, literally saying 'listen up rebels'. What did he mean?
From here we see that Moshe made the mistake in the way of teaching. Moshe Rabbeinu thought you can teach by force. G-d told him “no, you can’t teach by force. You have to teach by the level of compassion.”
We know that the water we received in the desert was in the merit of Miriam, but Miriam was not just giving the water, she was giving the well, the Be’er of the Torah, the explanation of the Torah. You can only really explain Torah when every word of the Torah is deep in my heart like the well, it has to come from a well, from the deepest depths of me. It is only then that I understand the Torah, and only then I can expand the words. But if G-d forbid the well stops then the words become cold, and then when the words become cold - fighting begins.
Now, I want to share the deepest depths. How much can we pour out our hearts to another person? I can tell you everything which happened to me all night long, but how much can I tell you the deepest of my own heart? It’s very hard. But imagine I’m able to pour out my heart in front of all of Israel…
In order to make the stone give water, can you imagine how much I have to pour out my heart and beg the stone to listen so that even a stone should be moved? Gevalt is that deep. In order to move a stone, you have to pour out your heart in the deepest way. The question is, are you that close to Am Yisrael that you can do it in front of all of Israel? What was G-d really telling Moshe when he says ‘Vedibartem El Hasela Le'einehem’? Can you pour out your heart like that to all of Israel? Are you that close to all of them?
Reb Shlomo Speaking: I want to say a gevalt Torah. On Rosh Hashonna we are pouring out our heart before the whole world, Meloch Al Kol Ha’olam Kulo. On Yom Kippur we pour out our heart before every Jew in the world. Succos, I like to sit there with my whole family and pour out my heart with my whole family. Then Simchas Torah. But what I want to say is if Moshe Rabbeinu would have poured out his heart he would have brought so much love among the Yidden, Mashiach would have come; he would have gone to Eretz Yisrael. See, the truth is the time wasn’t right for Mashiach yet. So, what I want to say is Moshe doesn’t go into Eretz Yisrael because the time isn’t there yet, but if he would have spoken to the stone he would have brought Mashiach.
Ok, lets go back … I want to go one step deeper, you know. There is one thing: pouring out your heart before somebody else; but then the deepest, deepest, deepest depths is to pour out your heart before your own self.
As related by Rabbi Shlomo Katz - https://soundcloud.com/carlebach-legacy/are-you-ready-to-go-into-mud-rabbi-shlomo-carlebach-on-chukat
Reb Shlomo talking in depth – Parshat Chukat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbWN8p2IOqc
In this talk – he talks about the fixing of our eyes, Tzizit , the famous story about General Joe
Inspirational Video of the Week, Reb Shlomo giving a concert with deep stories & Torah’s at Temple Chai, Phoenix, Arizona http://templechai.com/
In honor of Miriam הנביאה and all our holy midwives
Parshas Chukas - Miriam's Well
The rock-fountain, known as "Be'eir Miriam"- Miriam's Fountain had left the people after she passed away. The people had rebelled against Moshe and Aharon because there was no water and they felt like they were going to die from thirst.
This week we studied a little bit from the holy Piaseczner Rebbe’s teachings that he taught in the Warsaw Ghetto,. This lesson was given over in the year 1942, just a few months before the Rebbe was murdered in Treblinka; in fact it seems that this is the third last written teaching of his, in our possession. It is almost totally unimaginable to me, how a holy Rebbe in the midst of the darkest and deepest טומאה – ‘tumah’ [spiritual block], the tumah of hatred and death, still managed to write these words of ‘Holy Fire’. Please allow me to share a few gleanings from this lesson- I hope that they are true to the Rebbe’s teaching.
Parshas Chukkas is really all about life. It’s about overcoming death through constant yearning for eternity. It’s about renewal and birthing new generations that will continue to yearn for the Eternal One. Generations of children who will continue to learn the holy Aleph-Bet, the holy letters of Torah, holy children who will continue to do mitzvot with joy, renewing life and faith, birthing and creatively creating new vessels to reflect more and more of Hashem’s light. Human creativity is Hashem’s divine gift with which we are blessed to reveal Hashem’s light. Let’s hope that we will never stunt our children’s creative talents and vitality.
We seek eternity, though we know that we brought death into the world and our days are numbered. We miraculously yearn for it because we are the children of the Eternal One. As His children, we are blessed to sense and seek eternity. We want to be eternal in a beautiful world that radiates Hashem’s light. But in the midst of death, in a world of darkness our vision gets impaired by the anti-life __’tumah’__, and we remain deeply challenged to perceive light, life, renewal and true creativity and love. How do we get beyond the inevitability of death-tumah? After being with death, after feeling that something has died within, how is it possible to continue, how do you achieve renewal?
This is the mystery and the promise of the Red Heifer service. We don’t understand it- it makes no logical sense at all, it is the archetype of all ‘chukkim’ – of Divine decrees, that we are commanded to do just because Hashem commanded us to do them, without entertaining any questions or doubts.
The Parah Adumah service brings you back to life, back to tahara - even one who has been deeply hurt and lives in darkness, was touched by death, returns to be alive, ready like a child to fully engage with Hashem in every moment of life. Even in the Holocaust and after, there were holy children and tzadikkim who retained their yearning for eternal connection with the Eternal One.
Children can renew their friendships with Hashem and people a lot easier than adults can. Their rational minds have not yet been corrupted to interfere with their natural joy, with their natural love for Hashem and others. We are raised to grow up and mature, as we should. But the terrible mistake is that we are taught to think that we have to destroy the child within, to be mature. Heaven protect us. Yes, we must grow up and mature and the holy child must always be there within to protect us from the stupidities of adulthood. Unfortunately, death does make us tamei. Precisely because we connect with it purely beyond reason, the Parah Adumah mitzvah, affords us the ability to be tahor again.
It was in Miriam’s merit that the miraculous fountain of living waters accompanied us throughout our years in the wilderness. Miriam was the צדקתthe righteous one who dug deep down within until she reached the deepest points of yearning for closeness with Hashem; she found the deepest groundwaters that come forth to one who yearns so deeply and sincerely. While she was alive amongst us, she inspired us to yearn together with her. Drinking from Miriam’s holy fountain of living waters, we were able to drink the holy words of Torah which our faithful shepherd Moshe Rabbeinu brought us from Heaven and receive them deeply within.
When Miriam died, we were suddenly without the fountain. Without her inspiration, we momentarily forgot how much it depends on our true yearning and we rebelled instead. When the tzaddik leaves us, without their direct encouragement, we need to be stronger than ever to live by their wisdom. We fell into the tumah of feeling abandoned the tumah of victimhood, and could not hear the holy words of faith. For this reason Hashem’s ‘faithful shepherd’, Moshe Rabbeinu, was so to speak led into transgression and “hit” the rock. The tzaddik had to descend to the people to help them reestablish their connection with Hashem, from the place they were in.
Similarly, the Piaseczner Rebbe in the Warsaw Ghetto, did not seclude himself with the Shechina, away from his brothers and sisters. He stayed with everyone as long as he possibly could. He gave voice to their anguish and cries, even their complaints towards heaven. And he also gave voice to the cries and anguish of the Shechina, and taught us Miriam’s great lesson- even when you are left without inspiration, go deeper within and sincerely yearn for inspiration; yearn for the deepest fountains of living waters, yearn for the deepest depths of Torah, beyond reason. There you will be cleansed of the tumah of death, you will find your renewal and creatively fashion new vessels, new Torah insights that will reflect Hashem’s deep light that will dispel the darkness of hatred and death, and will, hopefully very soon, bring us the ultimate redemption with the arrival of Moshiach – Yearn for Moshiach Now! Amen.
The Mei Hashiloach says that at each moment that we bring back Hashem’s light, we realize that all the pain we feel now is not eternal. Furthermore, in the end of days we will realize that our souls were never really damaged by all the suffering and pain they experienced. For now, we have to accept this with perfect faith; eventually we will actually see that this is the truth. May it be very soon.
Have a wonderful Shabbos Kodesh לחיים טובים ולשלום b'ahavah ubivracha Sholom
Parshat Chukat: Teachings From Previous Years
Unity and True Love
Zot Chukkat HaTorah- RELATIONSHIPS