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Friday, Adar 22, 5778 / March 9, 2018


This Shabbat we will read the last two Parshiot of the Book of Exodus, Vayakhel& Pekudei.  Both tell about the building of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and the various materials which the Jewish people contributed for the construction of the Mishkan and its contents. With Parshat Pekudei we will conclude the second Book of the Torah, the Book of Exodus (Shmot).


This Shabbat is also the third of the four special Torah readings before Pesach.  Two Torahswill be removed from the ark.  In the first we will read the two above mentioned Torah portions and in the second Torah we read Parshat Para(Numbers chapter 19). The reading of Parshat Para is about the laws of the “Para Adumah” (Red Heifer).


In the days of the Beth HaMikdash (Holy Temple), one was not permitted to enter the Temple if he or she had become impure by coming in contact with a dead body.  As part of the spiritual purification process, water mixed with the ashes of a Red Heifer had to be sprinkled upon the person. This would render them spiritually clean. The Red Heifer had to be completely red. If it had two hairs of a different color, it was disqualified for this purpose. 


According to our sages, since the times of Moshe nine Red Heifers have been used. The tenth one will be used at the time of Moshiach. May it be speedily in our days.


Q.  How does the sprinkling of the ashes of the Red Heifer render a person spiritually clean?


A.  The Torah refers to this law as "ChukatHaTorah."  The term "Chukat" is associated with mitzvot which are beyond the realm of human logic and understanding. G-d didn’t reveal the reason and logic of this mitzvah. Even King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said that the understanding of this mitzvah was beyond him.   


Q.  Why is Parshat Para read at this time of the year, before Pesach?


A.  We read Parshat Para at this time to help us prepare for the month of Nissan, the month of our past and future redemption. Our sages say "In the month of Nissan Jews were liberated from Egypt and in the month of Nissan we will ultimately be liberatedthrough Moshiach


Readingabout the Red Heifer expresses our strong belief in the coming of Moshiach, when the Holy Temple will be rebuilt and the tenthRed Heifer will be offered and we will once again be purified in order for everyJew to offer the Passover lamb (Korban Pesach) to be eaten at the Pesach Seder.  


May we all merit to be this year in JerusalemAmen.



Montrealcandle lighting time: 5:34 / Shabbat ends: 6:37