This week's Torah Portion: 


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זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתֹּורָה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהוָה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵֽין־בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹֽל

Zot hukkat haTorah asher-tsivah ADONAI leymor dabeyr el-b'ney yisra'el v'yik'chu eylecha parah adumah t'mimah asher eyn-bah moom asher lo-alah aleha ol

"This is the regulation from the Torah which ADONAI has commanded. Tell the people of Isra'el to bring you a young red female cow without fault or defect and which has never borne a yoke."

Our parashah this week is Hukkat (say “choo-kaht”; sounds like “who caught”). Actually, this Hebrew word shares the same root word as a previous Torah portion. The last portion of Vayikra (Leviticus), known as Parashat B’chukkotai (say “b-choo-koh-tie”; the “ch” is as the “ch” in Bach) also comes from our root word. The root word from which our Torah portion’s title is taken is “choke” חֹק, and it means “statute, limit, ordinance, something prescribed.” This should not be confused with its synonym “Torah” which is also sometimes translated along these same lines. The main difference is the nuance that each word is attempting to convey: choke=ordinance; Torah=teaching.

Because the portion deals with a central Torah injunction (the ashes of the Red Heifer), I want to briefly repeat some of the important concepts concerning Torah as Law. Some of my material will actually come from the above-mentioned Torah portion of B’chukkotai.
— Parashat Hukkat