Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation

Respect and Disrespect

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

Adonai’s wishes,

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