Pinchas

  1. I have discussed how the Para Adumah is used to recall the time before death and risk. The time when we there was no loss of potential needed to drive us to make the good. The Para is never worked because mankind didn’t need labor in order live. It is red like Adam or the earth etc… We need this evil free purity in order to connect with the timeless (and riskless) Kedusha. And we’ve discussed how the preparer becomes impure because they must kill to make the water. Killing in a way that realizes potential (e.g. for a korban) doesn’t create impurity – but killing for no reason other than to counteract the effects of death does. So the preparer is impure. But why discuss it here? The answer is that the Jews are going through a reentry process. After the Jews crossed the Yam Suf and left the ‘real’ world, they needed water. They got it while being told to obey the Chukim, but no specific chok was given. Now that they are reentering the ‘real’ world, and not we have chukim – and we have a chok involving death because even as they deal with natural real world death they have to understand how to maintain their connection to Hashem.
  2. We immerse on the third and seventh day in order to return to a state where we can interact with Kedusha. Kedusha is about realizing spiritual potential, but it is undermined by creative and spiritual loss. It is undermined by death. But the third day is the first day of (plant) life which counteracts death, and the seventh is the day of Rest which gives meaning to our creation.
  3. Here we have another parallel to the time after the splitting. Just like before, the people are in need of water – reasonably so. Before, Moshe is to strike the rock because the people need to understand the force of Hashem – they don’t yet make choices. Here, Moshe is supposed to speak. Why? Because the Jewish people need to connect *with* Hashem for water not just have Hashem imposed. It is how they realize their spiritual potential. It is why Hashem brings them to a place named Kadesh – because it is to be a place where a higher level of holiness is demonstrated. Instead, they see water through strife.
  4. The first introduction to Edom is weird. They guarantee they won’t drink water? How. Only with a miracle. They promise to stay on the King’s Road. But does the same King’s road goes through Sihon and Edom? It is probably the road of Hashem? They tell their story, they telegraph their holiness. In fact, they say we are coming from the City of Kadesh. There was no city there before, but now it is a settlement of holiness. They seem to realize their power is through Hashem. But they are rebuffed. And then they back off the holiness and promise to come through on foot – in a non-threatening way. When they are rebuffed again, they turn away. The Edomites are their cousins and they don’t attack, but they don’t push through the land either.
  5. We have more parallels. The Canaanites attack and take a hostage. Like the Amalekites who attack the baggage. But this time the Jews aren’t commanded to take revenge. They take the initiative and ask Hashem to support their response.
    1. Soon after Aaron dies. Why does Aaron die now and not later like Moshe? Perhaps because his *only* job is sanctification. He failed to enable Hashem to be sanctified through the people and so, he had to be replaced. His death keeps the timeless holy position, but not the man (unlike Miriam and Moshe).
    2. Then we have no water again? Why? Because the people still need to realize blessing comes with connection to Hashem. This time they learn though. Copper is in the Mishkan a utilitarian substance – for rings and pole supports and the such. Snake is the same word – Nachash. I’ve proposed that the snake in the garden was a utilitarian for Hashem. But Hashem promises women will step on its head. Here, we put it on a pole. Why? Because the Jewish people realize it is a functionary of Hashem – the snake’s action are there to be corrective and recognizing that is enough to cure them. This is why they end with “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you.”
  6. The parallels continue. An explicit reference is made to the crossing of the Yam Suf. It is made in a song, just as with Az Yashir. And this song celebrates a new miracle. But what is *this* miracle? The simple reading seems to be a miracle involving brooks in a desert and water that flows over hills. Where the prior miracle occurred in front of pagan gods (Pi-Haatroth and Baal), this one occurs on the borders of men. It doesn’t shame gods, but it does shame human reason. Because the people have risen, they recognize that this miracle, while less flashy, is no less important.
  7. We end with war. The Jews send the same message as with Edom. A holy message. But Sihon is a man like Pharoah, a man with great press who believes it and must protect it. But instead of Hashem leading the people away from Pharoah, the people work with Hashem to crush Sihon. They do not turn. Now, they have conquered their slavery and are ready to face the challenges of free men.

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