This week’s Torah portion is Chukkat and covers Numbers 19:1-22:1. In this parashah, the Israelites get instruction on the red heifer (more to come on this), Miriam dies, Moses hits a rock when G-d instructs him to speak to it, and Aaron dies as well.
What do we do with the odd rituals of the red heifer which are in response to death? Is there a connection between these rituals and the deaths of Miriam and Aaron, two of the leaders of the people and Moses’s siblings?
One way to deal with the pain of death is to go into the world and do good, thus “Combined, tears and tzedakah create a cleansing “water of lustration.” This is just one quote from a drash by Lawrence Bush and Jeffrey Dekro titled The Waters of Lustration: Tears and Tzedakah. (Although this drash is from 2001 I think you will enjoy it. I choose it especially because of a conversation I had with a dear friend today.)
Go and study!