Friday, June 29, 2012

Parshat Chukat, 5772/2012 thoughts

Basics here.

Limited time.  Trying to sneak in a quick post.

Previous, re weird "red cow" business, Aharon/Aaron's punishment, Yiftach/Jepthah's daughter:
Current thoughts, on one foot:

  • G-d's an apikoris/kofer (heretic).  :)  Why on earth would He tell anyone to build an idol, which is, essentially, what that brass snake was?  (Numbers 21: 5-9)  At worst, it was an idol; at best, it was a segulah (for which superstition-based practice I have no fondness, as I posted previously).
  • B'nei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) are apikorsim/kofrim.  Why on earth did they sing to a well? (Numbers 21:17).
Posting quickly, while I can.  If I think of anything later, I'll add it later.
  • Added later:   All of a sudden B'nei Yisrael are entering the Land.  What the heck happened to the forty years of wandering in the wilderness?  Did someone (or The One) cut a few chapters?  (My husband says that the encampments described in this parsha/weekly reading all lasted for significant periods of time.  And nothing happened during the wandering that was worth mentioning, other than the changing encampments?  Now we know what killed the sinners:  forty years of boredom.)
Here's Woodrow's D'var Torah on Chukat.

Monday, July 2, 2012 update:

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in his Covenant and Conversation for Chukat, posits that Moshe/Moses lost his temper and struck the rock (instead of speaking to it, as HaShem had ordered) because he was upset over the death of his and Aharon's sister Miriam.  Makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is that no one other than Moshe and Aharon seems to have noticed Miriam's death.  What, no 30 days of mourning?  I suspect that it was this apparent lack of mourning for Miriam that caused the rabbis to credit Miriam with having provided water for the people through her merit--a well was said to have followed her, and to have disappeared after her death, resulting in the people's complaint that they had no water.  Thus, the rabbis killed two birds with one stone, er, one midrash (rabbinic interpretive story), justifying the people's complaint about the lack of water by passing off their complaint as a sign of respect for Miriam after her passing. 


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The wife and I were talking about it. Miriam dies, and the people fly into a panic, because something vital and important has been lost.

    Aaron dies, and we can have pomp and circumstance, because really, isn't that what the priesthood is all about anyway?


    Mon Jul 02, 03:02:00 PM 2012  
    Blogger Shira Salamone said...

    Reform Baal T'shuvah, I presume? That's an interesting perspective. I hadn't thought of it from quite that angle. Thanks to you and your wife.

    Mon Jul 02, 06:02:00 PM 2012  

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