WEEKLY TORAH PARASHAH FROM THE ANCIENT JEWISH SECT KNOWN AS “HaNETZARIM”

Parashat:                       Statutes Ḥuqqat – Bamidbar (Nu.) 19:1-22:1 

                                            

Haftarot:                        Shophetim (Jdg) 11:1-33 

 

Ketuvim Netzarim:      Yochanan (Jn.) 3:21

 

TORAH

THE PARAH ADUMAH[1]

ALIYOT[2]                                         

1st              Rishon

Numbers 19:1 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying, 2 “This is a law of the Torah which יהוה has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, that they bring you a red heifer, a perfect one, in which there is no blemish and on which a yoke has never come.

Of the 613 Mitzvah of HaTorah, those pertaining specifically to the Parah Adumah (The Red Heffer) are #574; To carry out the ordinance of the Red Heifer so that its ashes will always be available (Num. 19:9) (affirmative). And #576 That the waters of separation defile one who is clean, and cleanse the unclean from pollution by a dead body (Num. 19:19-22) (affirmative).[3]

This Aliyot of our Torah Parashah is called a ‘Ḥuqqat’or ‘Chukkim’, and it refers to the type of Statut this Mitzva is.

Generally speaking, the 613 mitzvot are divided into three categories: logical Mishpatim (‘laws’ or ‘judgments’) supra-rational Huqqat, or chukkim (decrees), and Eidot (Testimonials).

Mishpatim (Laws or Judgments) are mitzvot such as the commandment to give charity or the prohibitions against theft and murder, whose reasons are pretty much obvious.

Huqqat/Chukkim (Decrees) are statutes given without a reason, such as The Parah Adumah, described in our Aliyot for this Parashah. “The Talmud states that of all the mitzvot of Torah, this is the only one that King Solomon could not fathom since this sacrifice is the most paradoxical of all the sacrifices listed there[4].”

Eidot, or (Testimonials), occupy the middle ground between Mishpatim (Laws/Judgements) and the Huqqat/Chukkim (Decrees). An Eidot (Testimonial) is a mitzvah which commemorates or represents something, e.g., the Mitzvot to observe the Feasts or Mo’edim of YHVH, rest on Shabbat, or eat unleavened bread (Matza) on Pesach. These are not laws that we would have devised on our own; they are deliberate, rational acts.

Now, going back to the Parah Adumah. The laws concerning the selection of the red heifer are very specific, and demand a close examination of the animal to determine its’ suitability. The ashes of the animal will be used to purify those contaminated by contact with death.There must not be spot, nor blemish, there can be no more than one white or black hair on the animal, it could never have been used for secular purposes, and it must have been born in Eretz Yisra’el.

The animal had to be taken out of the Camp of Yisra’el, where, under the supervision of the Kohen, it was killed. Some of its’ blood was taken before the Mishkan and sprinkled seven times; then the dead animal would be completely burned. The ashes would then be gathered and mixed with water to create what was called “The Water of Separation.”

Through a specific seven-day ceremony, anyone who had been contaminated by coming into contact with a corpse (making them ceremonially unclean), could be considered ‘clean’ again after being sprinkled with the ‘Water of Separation’ applied by a stalk of hyssop on the third and seventh days. The last day would also include an immersion in a mikveh[5]. The individual would be considered unclean until the following evening when they would be allowed to return to the Camp and resume their prescribed duties.

We as Netzarim Yahudim, recognize Y’shua as the “Water of Separation,” that cleanses us from all sin making us clean again. We don’t have to wait for a perfect sacrifice; we don’t need any special ceremony. His righteous blood is available to us 24:7! Let us then go up to Y’rushalyim, and up to the House of YHVH Elohenu, who is our Mayim Chayim, our Living Water who cleanses us from all sin!

Shabbat Shalom U’vrachot (Peace and Blessings to You)

Sha’ul

[1] Parah Adumah: The Red Heffer required for purification from contact with the dead.

[2] Aliyot refer to smaller sections of the weekly Parashah that are assigned to members of the congregation (who make aliyah by going UP to read), for the Torah Reading part of the service. For Shabbat services, there are 7 aliyot. The Maftir is the concluding aliyah and usually includes the reading of the Haftarot portion as well. In second temple times, the 7th aliyot was the Haftarot portion with no Maftir in the reading.

[3] http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm © Copyright 5757-5771 (1996-2011), Tracey R Rich

[4] http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Shabbat/Special/Parah/parah.html

[5] Mikveh: A gathering of ‘mayim chyim’ (living water) in which one would immerse for one of several different reasons, and in a specific way.