Shabbat

Portion Chukat - the Cow the Calf and the Tree

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Anything in Common?  Approaches to Holiness?

From the Portion we see that
The Holiness of the Temple is maintained by laws restricting access from people in contact with the deceased , or dead animals considered Tamay - ritually detracting.

Yom Kippur Holiness is included Temple rituals to reinforce the above rules,
And
Year long maintenance of Ritual Purity was mostly related to rules of the Red Heiffer (from this Portion) with the implication that 

"the COW's ashes were TO expiate for sinning at the Golden CALF" -
and other missed opportunities-
 to maintain a Holy lifestyle after the Exodus from Egypt.

These thoughts are Based on the Talmud .
 
In a parable by Rebbe Bachman of Breslav
(Maybe a totally different approach to maintaining Holiness)

Many birds and animals find shelter in tree

but then they start to argue.
 
Isn't that life? Never satisfied?
Its not birds and animmals, its about us!

So THE TREE DISAPPEARS! Where did it go?

In life - who gets what place? What's left after arguments?

Soon after, then the Holy Wise Man appears, and explains 

Because
"space" (in the shelter of the tree?) 
 is down here;
 
but PEACE AND TRUTH ARE IN HEAVEN -
 
so he tells the animals (the people) 
just LOOK UP AND SEE STRAIGHT!
And you will see the tree! (The tree of Life from the Garden of Eden?)

In a simply direct HUMAN way,

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach taught (a little with my extending his deep words - sent from Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo)

"Let me ask you friends, when a person G-d forbid gets defiled by a dead body, how does he purify himself? 
Okay/ The Red Heiffer! What's that?


In a nutshell, death is when there is no one to receive what I want to give you. Imagine you pour out your heart to somebody, you want to say something so beautiful, 
and you see after the whole thing is over, they didn’t hear what you said.
 
 It’s like a feeling of death. We are defiled by contact "with death"/
 
A Yiddele doesn't have to say so much. He has to listen well. 
This is real receiving. This is life.
 
(So what of the Red Heiffer healing the Golden Calf?)
 
So friends, do you know what happened at Mount Sinai? Moshe Rabbeinu brought down the Torah from heaven. Who was the first person to receive the Torah? The Medrash says that when Moshe Rabbeinu came down from Heaven, the first person he gave the Torah over to was the high priest Ahron Hakohen.
 
And what is the High Priest all about?
The high priest is a person who has the vessels, and gives us vessels to receive the Torah.

To have vessels to receive and give them over to someone else... both together. 
 
Do you know how much purity AND LIFE this brings down to the world? 

I bless you and me that when you give over, there is always someone ready to receive it, and may it be received with such LIFE GIVING purity .

Good Shabbos!"



Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz