Chukat-Balak 5780-2020

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose--History Repeats Itself!”
(Updated and revised from Parashiot Chukat-Balak 5760-2000)

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, we see, once again in parashat Chukat, that the one thing that unites our enemies is their enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

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Balak 5779-2019

“History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
(Revised and updated from Chukat-Balak 5760-2000)

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again in parashat Balak, that the one thing that unites our enemies is their unremitting enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, parashat Balak confirms that: “The deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.”

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Chukat-Balak 5769-2009

"The Ultimate Value of Human Life"

In the first of this week's double parashiot, a battle takes place. Described in only three verses, it is a battle between Israel and the Canaanite king of Arad. The commentators suggests that in the battle only a single maidservant is captured from Israel. Israel vows to defeat the enemy, and G-d delivers the enemy into their hands. This obscure battle teaches us about the great lengths that our enemies would go to deceive us and how precious human life is to the people of Israel, regardless of whether the person is Jewish or not.

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Chukat-Balak 5766-2006

"The Sanctity of Human Life"

The laws of the Red Heifer recorded in parashat Chukat seem archaic and antiquated. But, in truth, the ritual of the Red Heifer is an extraordinarily important ritual that drives home the invaluable life lesson regarding the principle of the sanctity of human life and the major role that this principle plays in every aspect of Jewish life and practice.

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Chukat-Balak 5763-2003

"How to Market G-d!"

In parashat Chukat, the Jewish people, once again challenge G-d by speaking against the Al-mighty and Moses and asking, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness...?" In response to this arrogant display of lack of faith, G-d sends fiery serpents to attack the rebellious hordes, and a large number of people die. To stop the plague, Moses builds a fiery serpent and places it on a tall pole so that all who are bitten will look at the serpent and live. What is the role of this serpent? After all, it seems to be very much akin to voodoo.

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Chukat-Balak 5762-2002

"The Paradox of the Red Heifer"

In the first of this week's two parashiot, parashat Chukat, we read of the paradox of the Red Heifer whose ashes were used to purify those who were ritually contaminated. The Red Heifer rendered those who were impure, pure, and those that were pure, impure. Perhaps it is teaching us that there is a significant price to pay for trying to improve others. But, we must be prepared to pay that price. It is, after all, the only way to achieve ultimate perfection.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Chukat-Balak 5760-2000

"History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again in parashat Chukat, the one thing that unites our enemies is their enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed, the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes

Chukat-Balak 5760-2000

"History Repeats Itself! Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

According to tradition, the nations of Moab and Midian were mortal enemies. As usual, as we see once again is parashat Chukat, the one thing that unites our enemies is the enmity of Israel, which is greater than their hatred for each other. That pattern has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Indeed the deeds of the fathers are the signposts for the children.

Read More


0 Comments5 Minutes