Celebrate Shabbat with us
Shabbat in the Garden
WITH OUR CO-PRESIDENT, SUE GREEN
FRIDAY, JUNE 18
SAWTOOTH BOTANICAL GARDEN at 6 PM
Oneg to follow
The Weekly Parsha
Parasha Chukat (Decree)
Moses is taught the laws of the red heifer, whose ashes purify a person who has been contaminated by contact with a dead body. With this comes the tradition of washing our hands after attending a burial or visiting a cemetery.
After forty years of journeying through the desert, the people of Israel arrive in the wilderness of Zin. Miriam dies, and the people thirst for water, as the well that has followed her throughout their wandering is now gone. God tells Moses to speak to a rock and command it to give water. Moses gets angry at the rebellious Israelites and instead of speaking to the rock, he strikes the stone twice. Water pours forth, but Moses is told by God that neither he nor Aaron will enter the Promised Land. Aaron dies soon thereafter.
Moses Maimonides claims that God punished Moses because of God’s exasperation with the complaints and quarreling of the Israelites (Shemonah Prakim 4). Miriam is looked upon as a heroine, as the Israelites sing a song to honor her after her death. She is one of the most revered women in Judaism, and today, that is acknowledged at Passover as many provide a “Miriam’s Cup” of water at their seders to honor the fact that she, too, kept the Israelites alive in the desert. Aaron’s son, Elazar, succeeds him as the high priest, passing on the “kohanim” priesthood for generations.