Parsha Chukas 5767: Tefillot for Tikkun of Chait, Unity and Rachel Imeinu – Revisited

By Moshe Burt

The placement in Torah of our Parsha Chukat and the Parah Adumah raises questions as to why the Parah Adumah and it’s Halachot are mentioned here in our Parsha; only after Korach’s rebellion and after the continued murmuring of the Am against Moshe Rabbeinu, and after the plague which killed thousands only ending with Aaron’s carrying an incense pan amongst the people (upon Moshe’s instruction), and after the story of the rods.

Previously, on Korach’s rebellion, there is a thought from R’ Simcha Bunim of P’shischa; “Now took Korach…”; that Korach was blessed with many positive attributes: fine lineage, wealth (albeit ill-gotten and questionable), wisdom, and thus he might have been worthy of being a leader of B’nai Yisrael. “‘Now took Korach — he took himself.’ He did not wait until he was offered the leadership, but he sought to take it by force. That is why he is not worthy of it.”[1] It seems that Korach used the above attributes for Ra, attempting to deceive the people and to seize power and influence from Moshe Rabbeinu and Aaron HaKohen. Perhaps the history of contemporary political leadership parallels the worst of Korach, but without any valid rationale?

“Rabbi Artscroll” presents one answer to the question of placement in a commentary in The Stone Chumash on the words at the beginning of our Parsha “…el Moshe, v’el Aaron” [2] The answer speaks of the symbolism of the Parah Adumah (the Red Heiffer) coming to atone for the sin of the Eigel Zahav (the Golden Calf) “… as if to say let the Mother come and clean up the mess left by her child…”

Back in Philadelphia, in the “Old Country”, Rav Moshe Ungar would render the phenomenon of the Parah Adumah as a Tikkun given B’nai Yisrael after the Eigel Zahav, as an eternal rectification of the tumah, the defilement of the Eigel Zahav. In other words, the Tikkun only later revealed in Parsha Chukat, tells us that, like a doctor treating an ill patient, that the remedy for illness generally precedes the illness itself; that the means of rectification of a Chait precedes the Chait itself.

And here is where Rachel Imeinu comes in. We today suffer in Eretz Yisrael the aftermath, of the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif and the Shomron and the outright legalized theft of their property and posssessions, the utter failure to provide any restitution to them or any solution whatsoever to enable them to pick up and continue their lives, despite mandate of “law”, as well as the evolution of the regime’s future plans for expulsion of more Jews in Yehuda and the Shomron under whatever bogus title or premise. In addition, on top of last summer’s Lebanon conflict, our blundering regime, in it’s complete failure to see to the security of the people it governs, faces a two-front war which it seems no more competent to win than it was last summer.

As we approach the period before Tisha B’av, we harken back to Rachel Imeinu’s role and why She was buried by Yaakov Aveinu “b’derech Beit Lehem (On the road to Bethlehem).”

Yaakov Aveinu says, in explaining to Yosef why his Ima is buried b’derech, “…I buried her [on the road] by Divine command. In the future my children will go into exile. When they pass Kever Rachel, they will embrace it. She will stand and pray for mercy on their behalf, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, will accept her prayer.” [3]

And Eichah tells how Rachel Imeinu recounted to Hashem the circumstances of her Marriage to Yaakov and how she acceded to Yaakov’s prior Marraige to Leah due to Lavan’s trickery and how she spoke to Yaakov on the wedding night so that Yaakov would not hear her sister’s voice and so that her sister Leah would not be shamed. And in this merit, she pleaded with Hashem, “‘You exile my children and [let] their enemies slaughter them and do with them as they pleased?’ At once, the compassion [rachamim] of HaKodosh Borchu was aroused and he said, ‘For Rachel I will return the people of Israel to their place.'” [4]

We beseech Rachel Imeinu, from her prominent station in Shemayim, to plead for mercy on our behalf as our times become increasingly perilous, to pray for the speedy release of last summer’s kidnapped Chayalim. To pray for an end to this despicable regime and all of it’s corruptions and corruptors and for a time when all Jews will live and possess all of Eretz Yisrael and when we will again know mutual care and responsibility; one for his brother.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the 3 captive Chayalim and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

  • [1] Torah Gems, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parsha Korach, Volume 3, page 79.
  • [2] Artscroll, “Stone Chumash”, Parsha Chukat, Perek 19, posuk 1, page 839.
  • [3] Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities, Yishai Chassida, page 485 quoting Pesikta Rabbasi 3:69.
  • [4] Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities, Yishai Chassida, page 485 quoting Pesikta Eichah Rabbasi 24.