Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon
In this Torah portion, God instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the red heifer. Miriam, who is the sister of Moses and Aaron, dies. Moses hits a rock to bring forth water rather than speaking to it. At the end Chukat, Aaron dies.
“Vayivku et Aharon shloshim yom, kol beit Yisrael.” And they cried over Aaron for 30 days, the entire house of Israel.
This text from Parshat Chukat tells us that all the people – men and women, even children – mourned the death of Aaron HaKohen. In contrast, only the men mourned Moshe Rabbeinu’s death, as later reported, “Vayivku B’nai Yisrael.” The text continues that no one ever reached Moshe’s level of holiness and prophecy.
In Balak, the king of Moab, asks Balaam to curse the Israelites after he sees them defeat various nations in battle. Balaam’s donkey sees an angel of God and refuses to move any further. Balaam hits the donkey. God speaks through the mouth of the donkey to tell him not to curse the Israelites. Instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam blesses them.
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