This Week's Torah Thought
from Rabbi Zylberman

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat, describes one of the most incomprehensible rituals in all of Jewish tradition. In order to rid oneself of the impurity that results from contact with a dead body, one is to immerse in water that has been mixed the ashes of a slaughtered red cow. Commentators through the centuries have posited rationalizations for this strange practice (which today is purely theoretical), but none are conclusive. This is because the nature of ritual is often incomprehensible. Rituals act on the a different mode of consciousness. They speak to our emotional and spiritual selves, even when they may fail to speak to our rational selves. The power of rituals derives from their mystery.

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