Vol 4.08 - Chukat Spanish French Audio Video
The concept of "Chukah" (statute) in Torah and "Parah Adumah" (Red Heifer) in Avodah: completeness of Bittul from the essence of the soul; completeness in Avodah with oneself and with others and the merging of the two.
The Rebbe says:
The Rebbe says:
1. In this week’s Torah portion Hashem sets down the statute of the Red Heifer. The red heifer (Parah Adumah) is a young cow that is sacrificed and whose ashes are used for the ritual purification of people who came into contact with a corpse.
2. The Rebbe discusses the different categories of Mitzvos:
There are three different types of Mitzvos (with regards to how we understand them).
#2) There are Aidoos/Testimonies.
#3) And there are Mishpatim/Laws.
Mishpatim/Laws are the type of Mitzvos which we would understand to do even if the Torah was not given (Heaven Forbid). For example “Do not murder”, society would have understood on it’s own to set down that rule for the community even if the Torah was not given (Heaven Forbid).
Aidoos/Testimonies are the type of Mitzvos which we would not have thought on our own to do however once the Torah tells us to do it we can understand the logic behind it. For example the commandment to wear Tzitzit (fringes worn on four-cornered garments), we would not have thought to put fringes on our four-cornered garments however once Hashem tells us to do it we can understand the reason “So that you will remember to do the commandments”. (In addition, it serves as a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt (see Numbers 15:40).
Chukim/Statutes are the type of Mitzvos which we do not understand even once Torah tells us to do them. Actually Chukim/Statutes totally go against all logic and reason and the only reason we fulfill them is because we are subservient to Hashem. The epitome of a Chok/Statute is the law of the Red Heifer and the details surrounding it. Becoming ritually impure or pure again does not make any logical sense. And the process of how one becomes ritually pure again- sprinkling the Red Heifer on him- definitely does not make logical sense.
3. The Rebbe now further explains the 3 types of Mitzvos:
Aidoos/Testimonies and Mishpatim/Laws are commandments in which Hashem has defined His will to such an extent that even human minds can grasp it. Hashem desires that certain commandments be understood by humans and therefore He contracts His infinite will to have a specific logical reason and understanding.
However Chukim/Statutes are commandments which Hashem desires to remain above the finite human mind and be fulfilled by his children the Jewish people only because He said so.
In other words, when we fulfill a Mitzvah which falls into the category of Aidoos/Testimonies or Mishpatim/Laws we are performing it through the conduit of reason and understanding. However when we fulfill a Mitzvah which falls into the category of Chukim/Statutes which we are only performing because Hashem said so (and did not contract His will to fit into reason and logic), our inner core as a Jew is being expressed without any conduit. The deepest part of our being is connecting to Hashem’s deepest essence (Etzem to Etzem, Yechidah L’Yachedcha).
4. The Rebbe now brings out this point clearly through the words of the Alter Rebbe:
The Alter Rebbe (the first Chabad Rebbe) said that the word “Chukim/Statutes” is from the word “Chakika/engraved”.
The difference between letters which are engraved into stone (for example) or letters which are written on parchment (for example) is that the letters engraved into the stone are one thing with the stone while the letters written on the parchment are still a different entity then the parchment. We see this clearly from how you would go about getting rid of the letters; if you want to get rid of letters written on parchment all you have to do is erase the ink and the parchment is still fully intact, however to get rid of the letters engraved into the stone you would have to cut out a chunk of the stone itself.
And this is what the Alter Rebbe means when he says that the word “Chukim/Statutes” is from the word “Chakika/engraved”: Just like letters which are engraved into stone are one entity with the stone, so too when we perform Chukim/Statutes we are connecting to Hashem without any conduit between us.
5. The Rebbe now explains that really every single Mitzvah has the quality of Chukim:
Question: In this week’s Parshah, regarding the law of the Red Heifer, the Torah says “Zos Chukas Hatorah – This is the Statute of the Torah”. Now shouldn’t the Torah have written “Zos Chukas Hataharah – This is the Statute regarding purity” or “Zos Chukas Haparah – This is the Statute of the Red Heifer”? And since we know that in the Torah every single word and even every letter is exact and perfect, the Torah must be teaching us something here. What is the Torah teaching us?
Answer: When the Torah says “Zos Chukas Hatorah – This is the Statute of the Torah” it is telling us that in truth every single Mitzvah in the Torah is just like the category of Mitzvot which are Chukim/Statutes, even Aidoos/Testimonies and Mishpatim/Laws fall under the category of Chukim/Statutes.
All the commandments of Hashem have the same source- they are the will of Hashem which is higher then any sort of comprehension. The only difference is that some of the Mitzvot have been clothed in the garments of reason and understanding, however this doesn’t change their original source. (Just like for example a person who has a desire for something, even if there is also a reason why he should have it this doesn’t take away or change his desire for it).
6. One of the lessons we can learn from this is to perform all the commandments of Hashem with the same enthusiasm. Once we know that all the Mitzvot originate from the same place- Hashems infinite will- and the only difference between them is that some have been garbed in reason, we can appreciate the need for every single Mitzvah, “big” or “small”.
Translated by Rabbi Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likuti Sichos Volume 4.
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