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Valuing our Mitzvot

By: Rabbi Yitzchak Lerner

The Medrash tells us that Shlomo HaMelech understand all of the commandments except for 1.  The commandment of the Red Heffer was the exception. He didn't understand how the one who is impure becomes pure via the water being sprinkled on him and the one who is pure, who does the sprinkling, becomes impure? Our Parsha therefore starts with the phrase "This is the Chok " of the Torah, The paradigm case of a Mitzvah that we don't understand.

There is a famous Gemorrah that tells us the story of Dama Ben Natina. A non-Jew who exemplified the Mitzvah of Kibud Av. He had a certain stone for the breastplate of the Cohen Gadol. When the Rabbis came to buy it from him he was not able to complete the sale because the key to the safe that was holding the stone was under the head of his sleeping father and he did not want to wake his father up. The following year G-d gave him a reward of a red heifer in his flock. This was worth much more than the stone yet he only took the amount that he lost from the previous year.

There is one line in this story that has always stood out for me. When the rabbis came the 2nd time to buy the Red Heifer - the non-Jew says " I know you and I know that no matter what amount I would ask for the red heifer you would pay that amount.  But I will only request the amount that I lost last year." 

Isn't it remarkable that a non-Jew can testify about the Jewish people that when it comes to the Mitzvah which is the paradigm case of a " Chok ' we are still willing to spend all the money in the world " 

May we all be zocheh to be willing to give up so much for all Mitzvot.





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