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Friday, June 26

The Weekly Shtikle - Chukas

It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the passing of my wife's sister, Batsheva Yeres, in Eretz Yisrael yesterday. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Batsheva Blima bas Moshe Yosef.


Please excuse the simple, solemn nature of this week's shtikle. In scanning through the episodes and topics covered in parshas Chukas, there seems to be a very common theme - the involvement of water. As well, the water theme seems to be often associated in some way with death.


First, we have the laws of parah adumah which, of course, come in to play when one becomes tamei from a dead person. One of the most critical aspects of the process is combination of the ashes and the mayim chayim in a special vessel. And of course, the purification is ultimately achieved by the sprinkling of that water.


We then learn of the death of Miriam in whose merit the nation was able to drink from a miraculous, travelling well. With her passing, the well ceased to be and that led directly to the infamous incident of mei merivah. The showdown that ensued appears to correlate directly with Moshe and Aharon being prohibited from entering Eretz Yisrael and thus, dying and early death. We read about Aharon's passing and the month of crying that ensued - water from within.


We also are informed of the great miracles that would happen when enemies would hide inside mountains to ambush B'nei Yisrael, only to be crushed when the mountains would miraculously collide together. They became aware of the miracle only when they observed the stream below turning red for the blood of the Amorite attackers.

One final, tangential connection to water is observed in the story of the defeat of Og who, as just about any school child will tell you, was a survivor of the great mabul many generations previous.


Indeed, may we merit to witness "vezarakti aleichem mayim tehorim ut'hartem" and "umachah HaShem Elokim dim'ah mei'al kol panim" speedily in our day.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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