When you consider how disrespectful
Korach, Dathan, and Abiram were toward Moses
And by extension to Adonai,
It isn’t hard to discern a certain relief in their destruction.
But what about Adonai insisting on correct sacrificial ritual
For an animal that may not even exist?
Maybe by respecting a “red cow,”
We are respecting Adonai’s wishes
Without really having to know why.
It is like a blank check of trust
That may come in handy
When deeper concerns come up,
Such as the difficult reality of handling
The impurity of dead bodies.
Not only are the Israelites respecting
They are respecting the generation
That now must die
Before their descendants can enter the land.
In this parasha, both Miriam and Aaron die.
Guess who that leaves?
And why does Adonai say
That Moses will never cross over
To the Promised Land?
Moses displayed disrespect to Adonai
By hitting his rod against a rock,
Instead of trusting that Adonai
Would easily cause the water to flow
Without such violent action.
Moses takes this lesson to heart.
In dealing with the Israelites’ enemies.
The tribes of Israel,
The foreign kings are told,
Only wish to pass through their lands,
Not to conquer them.
(The Israelites even politely offer to pay
For any well water used.)
It is only when the kings react violently
In their refusal to let the Israelites pass,
That they are destroyed.
Adonai, as we have seen in the Torah,
Cannot and will not tolerate disrespect
So why keep disrespecting Adonai?
Do the Israelites really wish to suffer
The same fate as Korach and company?
That is the question of the parasha
And Adonai awaits our answer