Merely one week after Purim, a holiday that is the epitome of joy, we must take up a most somber topic – life and death. For this Shabbat forces us to consider the most troubling of all questions: When defiled by death, what can we do to restore life?
The answer, strangely enough, lies in the most potent energy potion in the history of existence.
No, not Red Bull. Red Heifer.
This week’s Torah reading speaks of this mysterious law that involves taking the ashes of a most particular animal – a completely red heifer – and mixing it with water to produce a potion that, when sprinkled on a person defiled by death, made him or her pure again.
In addition, our Haftorah, from Prophet Ezekiel, describes the Final Redemption in similar terms – as a cosmic sprinkling of pure waters.
This sermon is augmented by a beautiful story from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, who relates the mitzvah of the Red Heifer, Parah Adumah – to our contemporary time.
A logical interpretation from his teacher, Rav Soloveitchik, is enhanced by an insight from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, pointing out that the Parah Adumah purified the defiled and defiled the purifiers – save for the actual sprinkler of the pure waters.
Drink this and be energized!