Parshah Chukat

Candle lighting  17h30
Shabbat ends 18h29

GREATEST NATIONAL ASSET

The primary national asset of the Jewish People, which has provided us with more wealth than any other, is the Torah itself.

It is this special gift that ultimately makes us who we are. What is sometimes overlooked​ ​though is that we can’t always pinpoint and fathom exactly how we are impacted by this most powerful repository of the deepest wisdom available to humanity.

The Torah divides its laws into two categories. Mishpatim are laws that we can easily grasp, such as civil laws or honouring parents. Chukim (decrees) (singular: chok) are laws that are beyond our comprehension. The classic example is outlined in this week’s Parsha. It is the Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer which is used to purify a person who comes into contact with a corpse during Temple times. Even though this is the specific case being discussed, the verse uses a phrase which ties the word chok into the entire Torah. This indicates that on some level the entire Torah is a chok.

This reminds us that Torah is far deeper than we can ever fully understand. The impact that it has on us as individuals, and as a nation, is deeper than what is immediately apparent. This is why Jewish education – Torah education – is so powerful, and why it has enriched us as a people so brilliantly. When our children learn our national holy language, the stories and mitzvot in the Torah, the festivals, the Siddur, Jewish values and practices, and about our history as a nation, we don’t just cover our curriculum, but give them far more than we can ever truly perceive, because we give them access to a Torah that is ultimately a chok – more impactful than our limited current view allows us to know.

How can we as parents and teachers work together to impart this high regard for Jewish knowledge and inspiration to the next generation?

Firstly, we best show this with integrity by modelling a lifelong involvement in Jewish learning ourselves. That will show them that we truly do value its power.

Secondly, we are best positioned to equip our children in their own learning journeys through life when home and school work in partnership to support their Torah learning. As I saw recently in a photo of a board placed at the pick-up point outside a school: “Dear Parents. Tag, you’re it! Love, Teachers.”