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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
 
 
  Ki Tisa-Parah  
 
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

 PARSHAT KI TISA - PARAH   פרשת כי תיסע - פרה

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    

 

 

 


 

  

 

 

 

       

Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read two portions, the weekly portion of Ki Tisa and a special portion for Parshat Parah. Amongst the things which are discussed in the portion of Ki Tisa is the commandment to make the Kiyor, the washing basin. Hashem commanded that a washing basin of copper be made and placed in between the altar and the tent of the Ark. The Kohen had to wash his hands and feet from the basin before serving in the Temple. This was so critical that if a Kohen served before washing, whatever service he performed was invalid.

  The copper that was used for this washing basin came from mirrors that were donated by the Jewish women. At first, Moshe refused to accept them, because mirrors are objects of vanity. Hashem told Moshe to accept them, and further told him that these were the most precious of all of the donations to the Temple. During the worst period of the servitude, when the Jewish men were exhausted and despondent and had no interest in procreation, these mirrors were used by their wives in order to beautify themselves and arouse their husbands, assuring the continuation of the Jewish nation.

  This gives us a beautiful lesson that relates to our time. We know that our service of Hashem in the time of Galut (exile) is imperfect, marred by distraction and insincerity. Often we fall short of our own goals, and far short of Hashem’s expectations. When we reflect upon the greatness that will permeate the world when Moshiach comes, we sometimes feel that all that we have done during the exile will be totally irrelavent. The Kiyor teaches us that even the mundane objects that we use to survive Galut and hasten the redemption become an integral part of Hashem’s sanctuary in the time of Moshiach. 

  From the Kiyor we also learn a Halacha relevant to our times. Our prayers parallel the service in the Temple. Just like the Kohanim had a special way to wash, every morning when we rise we must wash our hands, using a vessel. The vessel should be filled with water, lifted with the right hand and transferred to the left hand, and then water should be poured over the entire right hand until the wrist. Then the vessel should be transferred to the right hand and water should be poured of the entire left hand. This should be repeated three times, so that each hand should be washed three times alternately (right, left, right, left, right, left). Left handed people do the reverse. Thereafter the blessing Baruch Atta A-donai E-lohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Netilat Yadayim should be said. By washing this way, we cleanse ourselves from impurity, we celebrate that Hashem has renewed our life, and we commemorate the service in the Temple, thereby awakening and demonstrating our yearning for Moshiach. May we speedily see Moshiach and the Kohanim performing their service in the Holy Temple.

  Shabbat Shalom,

 

  Rabbi Biggs

  Parshat Parah

   Shalom and Bracha!

   For the Maftir, a special portion, Parshat Parah, is read. Parshat Parah describes the Mitzvah of the Parah Adumah, the red calf, which was a necessary purification to enter the Temple in Yerushalayim and partake in the offerings. Since the entire Jewish people participated in the Passover offering, about which we read next week, this week we read about the necessary preparation. All of the Mitzvot connected to the Temple, in addition to their application in the time that the Temple stood, have teachings and meanings in our daily lives. Parshat Parah, in addition to the general reminder that Pesach is approaching, and that we must prepare our spirits and our deeds for the rebirth of the Jewish people that occurs on Pesach, has a very specific teaching as to the necessary prerequisite to the service of Pesach.

  Whoever came into contact with a dead body was forbidden to enter the Temple until he was sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer mixed with fresh well water. The ashes were prepared in a very elaborate ceremony and kept for future generations. This ceremony has been performed nine times and the final time will be when Moshiach comes.

  The Mitzvah of the red heifer presents certain paradoxes. Unlike all offerings in the Temple, the red heifer was slaughtered outside of the Temple, and outside of the walls of Yerushalayim. However, the Kohen had to constantly face and see not only the Temple, but also the inner sanctuary. This was so significant that the Temple wall facing the Mount of Olives was built lower than the other walls of the Temple in order that the inner sanctuary would be visible from the Mount of Olives. Whoever was involved in preparing the red heifer became ritually impure, and had to go to the Mikveh and wait until the next day before reentering the Temple. The ashes, however, were retained at a degree of sanctity that surpassed even that of the sacrifices.

  Coming into contact with death represents straying from the path of Torah. The Torah is the tree of life and separation from the Torah cuts us from our bond of life. When we see a fellow Jew who is astray from his heritage, the Torah tells us that it is our duty to help him. The red heifer was prepared outside of the Temple to teach us that we must be ready to make personal sacrifices and leave our own ‘sanctuary’ in order to ‘purify’ another. Even the Kohen Gadol, who is supposed to spend his time inside the Temple had to leave the Temple to purify another Jew and include him in the Temple. However, we must constantly face the inner sanctuary. When reaching out to others, we can easily make a mistake and provide a diluted Judaism, thinking that it’s better than what they have now. Facing the inner sanctuary reminds us that our goal is to bring people to the Torah, not change the Torah to suit people.

  As aforementioned, the Parah is the prerequisite for Pesach. The birth of the Jewish people, their survival, and final redemption all depend upon self sacrifice for Jewish continuity.

  The tenth Parah Adumah will be brought by Moshiach. May he be speedily revealed!!

  Shabbat Shalom,

  Rabbi Biggs

 

Rabbi Yonassan Biggs is from Chabad of Great Neck, NY. His website is: http://www.chabadgn.com/

 
   
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