The Illogical Cow - חוקת

Thursday, 7 July, 2022 - 4:42 pm

The Illogical Cow 

Did you ever look at somebody and wonder whether or not they are capable of spiritual healing? Whether or not they are capable of transformation? Did you ever look at yourself and wonder whether you can overcome your inner negativity and external challenges?

Well, Moses himself did wonder. 

The Midrash relates that when God told Moses about the impurity resulting from contact with a human corpse, Moshe’s face turned dark. “How will such a person regain ritual purity?” he wondered. What troubled Moses was the question of how could there be purity and healing for someone who touched a corpse, which symbolizes the most severe form of disconnect from G-dliness, which is synonymous with life. 

God responded by teaching Moses the laws of the red heifer. 

The Torah introduces the law of the red heifer with the words “this is the statute of the Torah”. Statute refers to a commandment that is beyond logic, a commandment that we perform only because G-d decreed it to be so. The red heifer defies logic, it represents God's compassion even to a person who is undeserving because he has strayed too far. The red Heifer defies not only human logic but it transcends Divine logic as well; it affects purity even where there is no logical formula for transformation and healing. The  red cow represents God's compassion that transcends logic, and runs deeper than calculated analysis.

How is this Divine boundless, unconditional compassion elicited?

One of the paradoxical features of the red heifer is that the person who prepares the red heifer to purify the impure, becomes impure himself. This is because G-d’s purifying compassion is elicited specifically when a Jew is prepared to sacrifice his own spiritual purity for the sake of another person. This devotion which transcends calculation and logic, evokes G-d’s unconditional, boundless love, which reaches every person no matter how far he strayed. 

In the words of the Rebbe: 

A person has to be willing to ignore his own concerns to do a favor for another Jew. Moreover, the help which he offers must be given freely, without thought of personal benefit. Our Sages teach: “More than the donor gives to the recipient, the recipient gives to the donor.” But when a person gives with such thoughts in mind ,he has not transcended his limits, and therefore it is impossible for him to draw down G‑d’s essence. When does a person draw down G‑d’s essence? When he does a favor for another person despite the knowledge that he will sustain a personal loss by becoming impure. 

Lekutei Suichos, Chukas vol. 4 

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