25 Jun Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Chukat 5775
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Chukat, an intensely emotional parasha for Moshe on a personal level. Not only are he and Aaron punished for hitting the rock, as opposed to speaking to the rock, with a sentence of not entering into the land of Israel, but that punishment is carried out against his brother Aaron who dies a natural death later on in the Torah portion. Despite the fact that some time did pass between the sin and Aarons’ death, for the reader it feels as if these two events take place one right after the other, piling on sadness after sadness in their lives. It is a feeling that all too often we all can relate to. In a month where several things go wrong – and for the moment I’m not talking about catastrophic, life or death related incidents but smaller things like a fender bender, breaking a finger, a leaky roof, etc. – we consider it a bad month even if 27 of the 30/31 days were actually very good. It reminds us to be mindful of the days of blessing that often come into our lives but that we fail to notice. Sadness finds its way in as well and we pay much attention to it, as we should. But we should never forget to leave time to be happy too.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik