Friday, March 09, 2007


This is the tale of two cows. These cows lived at around about the same time, in the same region. Our bovine heroes were related to each other, yet polar opposites. While one cow received all the bad press, the other became a hero.

The first cow, young and undisciplined, created a terrible mess. So, the older, mature cow had to step in and clean it all up. That wasn’t an easy task; the mess was so bad that it dirtied more than just the calf’s stable, it soiled the whole world. Cleaning such a mess should have been an impossible task, but this was an unusual cow- beyond anything we could comprehend. She hasn’t quite succeeded yet, but she’s getting there.

Come to shul tomorrow, and you can meet both cows.

The young, impetuous calf dragged the whole Jewish nation into a spiritual quagmire. We know him as the infamous Golden Calf, subject of this week’s Torah portion.

When G-d gave us the Torah at Sinai, He reverted us to “Garden of Eden” status. We were pure and immune to death. After the Golden Calf debacle, we reinstated our own misguided tendencies- and became prone to death again.

The mother cow empowered us to transcend death and reverse its negative side-effects. She introduced the supernatural tool of purification. To you and I, she is better known as the enigmatic Red Heifer, which we read about in the special maftir that’s added this week at Shul.

As the Midrash puts it: “A maid's child once dirtied the royal palace. Said the king: "Let his mother come and clean up her child's filth." By the same token, G-d says: "Let the Heifer atone for the deed of the Calf"

How the Red Heifer works is something we can never understand- it’s called a chok, a Torah commandment that has no rational basis.

Both cows are part of our daily spiritual experiences. We have our “Golden Calf” moments, when we lose sight of what we should be doing and err spiritually. Whenever we make a spiritual mistake, a part of our soul dies.

This sounds impossible to fix- “What’s done cannot be undone”.

So, G-d gives us the other cow, the one that doesn’t play by the rules. The Red Heifer is a chok, a ritual that we’ll never understand. We do it because G-d says so; because our commitment to Him is absolute.

We need our “Red Heifer” moments, times of total commitment to what a Jew should do, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. In those moments, we bring our soul back to life.

1 comment:

Living Hope In Jesus said...

We all need The LORD Jesus and His eternal salvation in order to find rest for our souls both here and in eternity.

May God open your precious eyes pertaining to His beloved Son Jesus Christ who died in your place and was God's Own sacrifice for your sins. It is of eternal importance.

Please allow God to open your eyes and understanding to Isaiah chapter 53.

Living Hope In Jesus