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Friday, March 29

The Weekly Shtikle - Tzav / Parah

The Shulchan Aruch states (OC 146:2 and 685:7) that both parshas Zachor and parshas Parah are biblical obligations. The source for this seems to be a variety of rishonim in Brachos 13a. Many acharonim (Ba"ch, Magen Avraham, GR"A) however, say that this is based on an error and in fact only Zachor is d'oraisa. A number of later acharonim, however, suggest justifications for such an obligation. Malbi"m, in his sefer Artzos HaChaim, as well as the Torah Temimah suggests that we see from Rashi in the beginning of Chukas that the parah adumah was an atonement for the Golden Calf. In parshas Eikev (Devarim 9:7) the pasuk says "Zachor al tishkach es asher hiktzafta es HaShem elokecha bamidbar." The Torah Temimah and Malbim learn that this is a reference to a biblical obligation to remember the sin of the Golden Calf which is materialized through the reading of parshas Parah.

R' Yaakov Kamenetsky, in Emes L'Yaakov questions the source of parshas Chukas. If we were to be commanded to remember the Golden Calf, why not remember it with a direct reference rather than an allegorical allusion? In Eikev, he points out that this pasuk does not even refer to the Golden Calf for it is the pesukim that follow that refer to the Golden Calf. Rather, he learns that the pasuk refers to Marah (parshas Beshalach) where B'nei Yisrael complained about the bitter waters and HaShem sent a piece of wood which Moshe put in the waters and sweetened them. Chazal teach us that there we were given the parsha of Parah. The purpose of this was to show us how things don't need to be logical in the world of Torah, that the word of HaShem is to be followed because it is the word of HaShem, whether there is a reason or not. This was the lesson to be taken out of the episode of Marah, where a bitter stick thrown into bitter water made the water sweet, an event which on the surface made no sense. It is this that we are commanded to remember in Eikev and therefore, we read parshas Parah to remind us of the incident in Marah and the lessons we are to take out of it.

Aroch HaShulchan (OC 685) gives his own source for the biblical obligation for parshas Parah. In the parsha, the term "chukas olam" is used twice. On the first instance, the Sifrei learns that it is to teach us that the ashes of the Parah may be used forever, even if there is no beis haMikdash. Aroch HaShulchan posits that the second instance must be a reference to the reading of the parsha and that's why we read it every year.

Have a good Shabbos

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: נעשה

Dikdukian: Vayishchat

Dikdukian: Oops (Parah)

Dikdukian: Let Your Heart Not be Desolate (Parah)

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