This Week's Torah Portion: Chukat

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This Week's Torah Portion: Chukat

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Post by Jrosemary »

I thought it'd be a good idea to start posting the weekly Torah portion--the section of the Torah read each week in synagogues--so people could discuss their thoughts, complaints, issues, questions and problems.

Arguably, I should be waiting till Simchat Torah, when synagogues finish reading the last bit of Deuteronomy and start over again with Genesis. But by then I'd probably forget about it. #-o

So here's this week's summary from
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism:
God instructs Moses and Aaron about the ritual of the red cow, whose ashes were to be used to purify people who had become ritually impure through contact with a corpse.

Miriam dies and is buried at Kadesh. Once again, the Israelites lack water and turn to Moses and Aaron with complaints and recriminations. God tells Moses to take his rod, and then, with Aaron, to assemble the community and order a rock to produce water. Moses strikes the rock with his staff and the rock produces enough water for the Israelites and their animals. But God is displeased and tells Moses and Aaron that they will not enter the land He is giving to the Israelites.

Moses sends messengers to the king of Edom, asking for permission to cross his territory. The king refuses and sends an armed force to prevent the Israelites from entering his land. The people take a different path and come to Mount Hor. Aaron dies on Mount Hor and Moses invests Aaron’s son Eleazar as the new high priest. The people mourn for Aaron for 30 days. The Canaanite king of Arad attacks the Israelites and is defeated at Hormah.

The people begin complaining yet again and God sends poisonous snakes to punish them. The Israelites approach Moses, saying they realize they have sinned and asking him to intercede with God for them. God tells Moses to make a copper serpent and place it on a pole so that anyone bitten by a snake could look at it and be cured.

The Israelites continue their journey through the territory east of the Jordan. They ask Sihon, the king of the Amorite,s for permission to cross his land, but he refuses and attacks. The Israelites defeat the Amorites and take possession of their land. The Israelites also defeat King Og of Bashan and his people, taking their land as well. The Israelites camp in Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho.
I'll return with some thoughts and complaints by and by--please add your two cents and/or any cool commentaries you might stumble on!

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