בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 19:1-22:1
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Art credit: Once again, actual original artwork, specially commissioned from a talented illustrator on fiverr…
The parsha teaches about a red heifer,
A word that only rhymes with zephyr;
An easier word you can say for it now,
‘Cuz a heifer is really a girl kind of __________!
This may be a source of infernal frustration;
But please guess the meaning of the word “lustration.”
Does it mean envy, purity, festivity, wrath…
Or maybe the steam that escaped from your bath?
The mitzvos we learn from the Torah so dear,
Six-thirteen we read in our shuls each year.
But only three different kinds – what a shock;
Mishpatim and eidos, and those called a __________!
Moshe lived for honesty, and not for petty lies,
But Aharon’s death was news the Jews accepted with surprise;
In fact, they couldn’t believe him at first –
So how did Hashem help them realize the worst?
It’s very strange to think Hashem would take a man to task,
For messing up a little thing that He would deign to ask;
And yet we know He holds tzaddikim higher than the rest,
And we can see that Moshe here had failed to do his best.
What was his mistake?
In many ways we’re all confused with what this parsha teaches,
And many different folks all come to help explore its reaches;
When Moshe hit the rock so hard, to quench the masses’ thirst,
He got water the second time, but what came out the first???
STUMPED?? Here are some answers:
[ 1 ] Cow! Do Torah translators get paid for finding fancier words???
[ 2 ] Purity. The red heifer ritual was used to create “waters of lustration.” Google it – it’s true! Speaking of fancy words…
[ 3 ] Chok (see Devarim 4:45).
[ 4 ] They couldn’t believe that Aharon, who’d helped them defeat death and was more beloved than Moshe, was gone. Some even claimed Moshe murdered him. Hashem showed them a vision of Aharon on his deathbed, which quelled the rumours. (Rashi 20:29)
[ 5 ] He hit the rock instead of speaking to it (20:11).
[ 6 ] Blood. The midrash in Shemos Rabba (13:3) introduces this based on a verse in Tehillim (78:20). Somewhat convoluted, but fascinating!