Parshat Chukat – 19 June 2021 – 9 Tamuz 5781

Daf Hashavua – A weekly digest of the Parashat Hashavua

Parshat Chukat

  • Stone Chumash, pg. 838
  • 87 verses
  • Haftorah: Judges XI, Stone Chumash pg.1187

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting:            8:04pm
  • Earliest Shma PM:       9:34pm
  • Vasikin:                          5:47:53am
  • Latest Shma AM:         9:26am
  • Earliest Mincha:          1:41pm
  • Havdalah:                     9:08pm
  • Zoom Havdalah:          9:23pm

General Introduction

Parshat Chukas contains several themes:

  • 1) The laws of the Red Heifer and the purification from the Tumah resulting from contact with the dead
  • 2) The sin of the hitting of the stone.
  • 3)  several attempts to enter the Land of Israel through enemy territory.
  • 4) The death of Aharon.
  • 5) The copper snake.
  • 6) The song of the spring.
  • 7) Successful battles against Sichon and Og.

The Moral of the Story

Why was Moshe punished so severely for hitting the rock? The standard explanation is that Moses used a bad expression when assembling the people i.e. “Listen up, all you mutineers!” As a faithful shepherd of the people of Israel, he should never have used such language, no matter how frustrated he felt.

A good leader must never vent his frustrations over the heads of his charges. To rebuke them – yes, to guide them – yes, but never should he insult them or embarrass them. A good parent may discipline his child, but he must do so with a sober demeanor, never out of anger or abuse. Moshe’s claim to fame, as it were, was that usually, he carefully and accurately executed the will of G-d, never adding anything of his own devices, even when he could enhance the Will of G-d. When he let his own personal emotions get in the way of his mission, he let down his Creator, and had to face the music himself!