(Exodus 30:11-34:35)

(Haftara: Parah: Ezekiel 36:16-38)

(Shabbat Parah)

1. [21:12]  “When you count the children of Israel… let each man give a ransom for his soul…so that there will not be a plague among them…”  Apparently, counting people (and sometimes other things) stops the flow of blessing to them. Our tradition tells us, “Blessing is not found onsomething which is counted”.  Why does counting people or some things stop them from being blessed? 

2. [30:38 ] “Whoever makes exactly like it [the incense of the Temple] in order to smell it will be cut off from his people.”    Whoever makes the incense for his own esthetic pleasure will be cut off.  We know, however, that in many ways we appreciate things that are pleasing to our senses.  Why is there such a severe punishment for someone who replicates the incense for his own use?

3. [Parshat Para]  We read Parshat Parah before the month of Passover in order to give us a feeling of purity.  In the days of the Temple, we had to be ritually pure in order to eat the Passover sacrifice.  We didn’t have to be ritually pure in order to hear the shofar or to sit in the sukkah. Why did someone have to be ritually pure in order to do the commandments of Passover properly?

4. [Haftara: Ezekiel 36:26] “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”.   This is a vision of the ideal time—the messianic time. Don’t we, ourselves, have to change our stone hearts into hearts of flesh? Why is heavenly help needed to bring about this transformation?

5. [Haftara: Ezekiel 36:36] “The nations will know …that I, God, have built the destroyed places, and planted that which was desolate… “   Apparently, people will rebuild everything, but the nations will know that this is a miracle from God.  If they see that people did the work and the reconstruction, how will they recognize that it is really a miracle from God?

Commentary

There is a type of person who loves to do good for others. Meeting with others brings him great joy. He greets the other with a happy face…and the greatest pain in his heart is that he may have caused pain to his friend or not been kind enough to him.

R. A. Y. Karelitz, the Chazon Ish, 1878-1953, Belarus and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg

And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker