[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much.]
The Mitzva of Parah Aduma discussed in our Parsha is the quintessential chok; a Mitzva which we cannot comprehend it’s reason. One aspect of the Mitzva that seems incomprehensible is that although the Mitzva is performed to purify impure people, those involved in the process become impure themselves!
In fact, Shlomo Hamelech writes in Koheles that he understands the entire Torah except for Para Aduma. Additionally, the Medrash tells us that Hashem told Moshe, ‘only to you will I explain Para Aduma.’ No one else will understand it until the days of Moshiach.
Why is Hashem withholding the meaning and significance of this Mitzva from us?
The Ba’air Yosef explains that it is in order to teach us a very important lesson, namely, that there are things in life that we cannot understand. There are paradoxes like righteous people suffering and wicked people having great wealth and power. Parah Aduma is THE Mitzva which reminds us of this idea.
The Shibolei Haleket writes that twenty four cartloads of holy Sefarim were burned on the Friday of Parshas Chukas in Paris in 1242. The Magen Avraham cites a custom to fast on the Friday of Parshas Chukas to commemorate that burning. Why do we follow the day of the week that it was on, and not the calendar date, like we do by all other fast days and Yomim Tovim?
In a dream, it was revealed to the leading Rabbis that this fast is observed specifically on the Friday of Parshas Chukas, the day right before we layn Chukas, because the Parsha starts off “Zos CHUKAS Hatorah” and the targum is ‘this is the DECREE of the Torah.’ The Parsha is symbolizing to us this principle, that there are things in this lifetime that we humans cannot understand.
May we all take this lesson to heart, and try to accept with simplistic faith all challenges and difficulties that come our way, even when they seem to be counterproductive and make no sense to us. May this serve as our continual attempt to atone for all the incidents where we questioned G-d throughout history.