Torah Tidbits

1 September 2014 / 6 Elul 5774
Issue 1048
Shabbat Parshat Chukat
June 13, 2013

ParshaPix Explanations

Parsha Pix

The cow is an actual potential Para Aduma (subject to careful examination, and then if it is found pure red, has to stay that way, remain unblemished, and never be worked)
After Miriam’s death, the Well dried up and there was no water for the people (the faucet with the spider’s web at its spout)
Although Moshe was commanded to speak to the Rock (the rock’s ear indicates that it was ready to listen), he struck it with the MATEH twice and water gushed forth from the rock(s)
Kohen Gadol with the garments that were transferred from Aharon to Elazar -  The people panicked and a plague of serpents attacked the people. G-d told Moshe to put the form of a snake on a rod (which he did, making the snake from copper) and anyone bitten by a poisonous snake who looks at the snake-on-the-stick would live. The symbol of the medical corps is a serpent (or two) wound around a staff. Known as a caduceus, encyclopedias give it an origin in Greek mythology. One wonders if the Torah is its original source…
The sedra mentions SEFER MILCHAMOT HASHEM, perhaps some kind of written record of the battles. It is represented by the open book with a tank on one page and the HEI- apostrophe on the other
DO NOT ENTER sign has a double-double meaning. Edom and Emori both responded to Israel’s request for safe passage through their territory with DO NOT ENTER. Moshe and Aharon, as a result of the “hitting the rock rather than talking to it episode”, were given DO NOT ENTER orders for Eretz Yisrael
The bottle of water marked 2NIS represents the offer Bnei Yisrael made to pay for the water they would use while passing through Edom’s land
The well with the musical clef stands for the Song of the Well
Mathematical expression equals 256+44+1, which is 301, the g’matriya of EISH, fire. That is what the expression is equal to in the ParshaPix, and altogether represents the phrase, “For a fire has come out of CHESHBON…”
MELECH CHESHBON, i.e. the math king. Emori’s king Sichon is also referred to as MELECH CHESHBON, as in the haftara of Chukat. (In Chukat, there is reference to Sichon Melech HaEmori, who sits in (the city of) Cheshbon. For the title of Math King, we’ve selected Leonhard Euler (pronounced oiler) - that’s his picture in the ParshaPix. He is considered by many to be the most significant mathematician of all time so we have dubbed him MELECH CHESHBON
Top middle is the emblem of Chevrolet. As we read in Bamidbar 21:1, “And when king Arad the Canaanite, who lived in the Negev, heard tell that Israel came by the way of Atarim; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.” As to the “prisoners”, the Midrash says it was only one single person, a servant woman. The term in the pasuk for prisoner or captive is SHEVI, i.e. CHEVY as in CHEVROLET
Below the Chevy emblem is a picture of one of the most famous clowns of the past in America, Emmett Kelly - as in ...MAYIM CHAYIM EL KELI. We went with Weary Willie rather than Princess Grace because his first name - because of the different examples of CHESED SHEL EMET (Emmett - EMET, get it?) in Parshat Chukat, in burying of Miriam and Aharon
The four graphic elements from the upper-right, linked with arrows all go together. A gift-wrapped box representing the place - whose identity is disputed by various scholars - called MATANA. From MATANA, the Torah tells us, the people traveled to NACHLI’EL. The bird the arrow points to is a Wagtail, known in Hebrew as a Nachli’eili. From there, via another arrow, the people traveled to BAMOT, either a place name or just the high places. In modern Hebrew, BAMOT are stages. In TTriddle form, the connection is to stages as in stagecoach. From there, via yet another arrow, to HAGAI, which we are taking as HA (the) GAI (maybe a valley of sorts). The picture is one of Guy Smiley, a Muppets character
The people complain of their thirst with these words (Bamidbar 20:5): “And why have you made us come out of Egypt, to bring us in to this evil place? This is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” Here are those same three fruits that the Meraglim brought back from their tour of the Land. Think of the extra slap in the face that this represents.

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