WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Chukkat

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism
Our Torah Reading this week, Parashat Chukkat, discusses the process of purifying oneself from contamination by a corpse by using the ashes from a red heifer. This might all sound familiar, since this portion was read once already this year, for Shabbat Parah, one of the special Shabbatot before Passover. Most of us today have not seen a red heifer – they do not exist – although there was a action thriller series from the USA Network called “Dig,” in which a red heifer did play a role in the show’s plot. In addition, we are not so concerned nowadays about being contaminated; it is not like we have to remain ‘pure’ so we can go to the Holy Temple, to bring sacrifices.
However, even though we no longer have sacrifices, remaining pure is still important. There are other ways to remain pure. One does not only become contaminated by a corpse. Have you heard the language and references people use today? That is a type of contamination and impurity. People seem to have no filters today. Clothing? Try buying a bathing suit that does not expose more than necessary. Dresses that are appropriate for Services?! Modesty does not have to be down to the floor, and cause one to sweat. One can dress modestly, and still leave something to the imagination – as my mother would say. So, as many of us are packing our children for camp, or have already, let us think, what they packed for camp, if our child is photographed in that outfit for the camp website, and it is the lead picture, will we be proud, or wonder if our child is a little too exposed? May our speech and our body exude a purity, showing that we are proud of the mind, body, and soul God gave us, while still leaving a little to the imagination! Shabbat Shalom!
WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah will be a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.