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(5748) All of the Red Heifers will be nullified but yours (Moshe) will endure (Tanchuma Chukath 8] - 
The special connection to the purification of defiilement of death (Tumat Meis) (through the Red Heifer) to Moshe Rabbeinu


1. The sages state on the verse: ,” This is the statute of the Torah etc. they shall take to you a red, perfect cow” that the reason it says “take to you” (specifically to Moshe) is because “All the Heifer s will be nullified/betailot but yours will endure” And this is related (not just to Moshe’s Heifer but) to all the Red Heifer for all generations , for with all of them, the K that made the Heifer, were sanctified from the dust of the Heifer that Moshe made. Therefore all the Heifers are called specifically by Moshe’s name.

This special connection between Moshe Rabbeinu’s Red Heifer to the Red Heifer is also emphasized regarding the reason for this Mitzvah. For even though King Shlomo (who was able to understand all the statutes of the Torah) said on this Mitzvah that it is “far from me” – nevertheless , the reason for this Mitzvah was revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu, as the Sages state on the words “take to you” that “I am revealing the reason of the Heifer to you”.

One must understand:

What is the difference between this Mitzvah to all the other Mitzvot of the Torah in that it’s relationship to Moshe is emphasized, both in its fulfillment,

where the fulfillment of this Moshe (even for all generations) is through the Heifer of Moshe,

and also in the way it is learned - “I am revealing the reason of the Heifer to you”?

2. One could explain the reason by prefacing that which the Sages state:

 (regarding the reason that the Red Heifer is female, whereas all the other communal offerings are male) –

“Let the Heifer come and atone for the deed of the Calf”.

(Rashi’s also in his commentary of Torah cites from R’ Moshe HaDarshan specific allusions from the Mitzvah of the Red Heifer to the atonement of the Sin of the Calf).

The commentators explain the relation between the atonement of the Sin of the Calf to the purification from the Tumat Meit (impurity imparted from coming in contact with a corpse) (which is the plain aspect of the Red Heifer) – according to the words of the Sages:

“If not for the Sin of the Calf, there would not have been any aspect of death by Bnei Yisroel”. For then (at Matan Torah) “They were free from the Angel of Death” (just as before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge - for at the time of Matan Torah their defilement was removed.

However, through the Sin of the Calf, their defilement returned). Therefore we see that the Sin of the Calf was the cause (for the aspect of , death and consequently – also) Tumat Meit . And this is the connection between the two aspects of the atonement of the Sin of the Calf and the purification from impurity of a corpse (Tumat Meit) - for they are dependent upon each other. For through he atonement of the Sin of the Calf the aspect of Tumat Meit is automatically nullified (since the reason for Tumat Meit is nullified – namely, death, in general).

One can thus explain (according to homiletics/drush) the precise wording of Rambam:

“Nine red heifers were offered from the time that they were commanded to fulfill this mitzvah until the time when the Temple was destroyed a second time. The first was brought by Moses our teacher etc. And the tenth will be brought by the king Moshiach”

This is seemingly not understood:

Why did Rambam need to write in his Sefer all the Heifers that were made during all the generations?

One must also slightly examine why Rambam did not suffice in just enumerating the number of Heifers that are cited in the Mishnah but also added: “And the tenth will be brought by the king Moshiach”.

Rambam writes in his Sefer also the laws regarding Moshiach, that:

“Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state. We will offer sacrifices etc.”

However, why does Rambam separate the tenth Heifer from all the aspects and offerings of the “Nasi/Leader” – that are contained in the prophecy of Yechezkel and writes that king Moshiach will make the tenth Heifer?

According to all the aforementioned, one could say that Rambam is alluding with this, that the completeness of the purification that is attained from the Red Heifer, in general, will only be with the tenth Heifer that will be brought by king Moshiach.

For the atonement of the Sin of the Calf will not be complete until the Future (as it states: “But on the day I make an accounting I will bring their sin to account against them.”). And only then, when the atonement of the Sin of the Calf is complete, will come the completeness of purity from Tumat Meit. For then the whole aspect of death will be nullified (as it states “Death will be swallowed up forever) which is the cause for Tumat Meit, as aforementioned.

And this is the hint in the allusion that “the tenth will be brought by the king Moshiach” – for ten is a complete number (as is known). And the completeness (of the purification that is attained from) the Red Heifer will only be in the Future, with the Heifer that will be made by king Moshiach.

3. Accordingly, one can also explain the connection between the Red Heifer and Moshe Rabbeinu (as it states: “take to you”.

The foundation of the purity of the Red Heifer is not just the actual nullification of Tuma’ah, but the nullification of the cause of tuma’ah from its source – the concept of death.

Therefore, for this, one needs for the power of Moshe. For one of the special qualities of Moshe is the aspect of eternality. The Sages explain that the deeds of Moshe are everlasting (as we see in our case regarding the Red Heifer itself that the dust of his Heifer, is the onset of the thing, and also – endures forever).

Similarly, this applies to Moshe himself. For even though it states that Moshe died, it is said of him that: “Moshe did not die . . just as he will stand and serve later on, so too even now etc.”. Therefore the purity of each and every Heifer is dependent upon the dust of Moshe‘s Heifer – for the power of purification of the Red Heifer is connected with the aspect of eternality of Moshe Rabbeinu.

And to note:

Even though the aspect of the completeness of purification from Tumat Meit will not be attained until the Future when death will be swallowed up forever,

(for until then the Heifer purifies from the Tuma’ah but does not have the power to nullify the cause of the Tuma’ah) -

this only applies to an individual. However, this is not so regarding the community/tzibbur. For through the Torah which Moshe received at Sinai and transmitted etc., the concept of community was created, and “the community is not dead” - for the aspect of death does not apply to the community of Bnei Yisroel.

4. As is known, “the Torah is eternal in all time and place”. From this it is understood that even though we do not possess the dust of the Red Heifer, nevertheless, the essential aspect of the purification of the Red Heifer, including the dust of the Heifer of Moshe, exists in the spiritual Avodah of every Jew.

The explanation is:

The drawing down of the eternality of Moshe was because he was the epitome of self-abnegation/Bitul to G-d (“a faithful servant”), representing Mesirat Nefesh/(self-sacrifice) - where one is prepared to sacrifice his entire being for G-d. One could say that this, therefore, is the reason that the deeds of Moshe are eternal – for Mesirat Nefesh is above change. For the whole aspect of Mesirat Nefesh is – the strength to do the will of G-d in a manner that nothing in the world is able to deter him.

Therefore the purification from Tumat Meit is from the power of the dust of Moshe’s Heifer.

Tumat Meit depicts separation from holiness. For when one is “cleaves to the L-rd your G-d” (then you) “are alive, all of you, this day”

(Death does not apply, and therefore there is no concept of Tumat Meit)

And in order to completely eradicate “death” and separation from holiness, so that one is at the epitome of cleaving to G-d – this must be through one’s awakening within himself Mesirat Nefesh to G-d.

And just as the eternality of the dust of the Heifer of Moshe comes in two manners:

  1. That he himself endures forever.
  2. That all the Heifers were dependent on Moshe’s Heifer.

Similarly, it is with spiritual Avodah. For there are two aspects in the awakening the power of Mesirat Nefesh:

  1. The awakening of the essential power of Mesirat Nefesh
  2. That which the power of Mesirat Nefesh infuses power and strength into all aspects of Avodat HaShem, that they become proper. As it states in Tanya that:

“The fulfillment of the Torah and its commandments is dependent on being constantly aware of one's readiness to surrender one's life to G-d . . so that this awareness be permanently fixed in one's heart and not depart from one's memory night and day. For in this way is one able to face one's evil nature and vanquish it always, at any time or moment”.

In one’s daily Avodah – this represents the difference between the Avodah of Prayer and the other aspects of Avodah throughout the entire day:

During prayer, one must awaken the love for G-d that is hidden in his heart. For the aspect of this love (as is explained at length in Tanya) – is the will and desire to cleave to the One G-d, so much so that one is ready to surrender his life.

(And this love is implanted in the heart of every Jew, since his soul is a “portion of G-d from Above (chelek Eloka m’ma’al mamash)” for “HaShem Echad” enlightens the portion in a revealed manner. However, it is hidden in his heart and the Avodah of a person is to awaken this love and to bring it into revelation)

And afterward, throughout the day, when a person is not occupied with the Avodah of Mesirat Nefesh (for its own sake) but in “fulfilling Torah and Mitzvot”, even then there must be a remembrance of the aspect of “his Mesirat Nefesh to G-d”. For through this “one is able to face one's evil nature and vanquish it always, at any time or moment” – it is a constant and eternal cleaving to G-d and then “you are alive, all of you, this day”.

m’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Chukat 5733



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