Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Chukas - 5778
LIFE, LOVE AND PURITY
The (mad) German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is arguably most famous for his Critique of Religion.
He noted that the very idea of heaven makes life on earth not worth living. Afterlife for Nietzsche brings about a devaluation of life.
The Jewish antidote for this valid concern is the Kohen. As priests, the descendants of Aharon do far more than just serve in the Temple. They inspire people to love Hashem, love one another and love existence. The Torah demands that the Kohen separates himself from the impurity of death, since his message is one of the values of life.
In Pareshat Chukat, we are taught that in addition to the Kohen’s detachment from Tumah, he is the one that is in charge of producing the material to remove Tumah by making the ashes of the Parah Adumah - the red heifer - that is used to purge the impurity of death.
For us, religion is to value life and appreciate it. Indeed, by being grateful to Hashem for the wonderful gifts of life, we elevate the world and make it into a tool of our service of Hashem.