The Bible is not just a story and history book, but is also a teaching tool for running our lives in today’s world.
G-d who created us and our special individual minds, knew that we don’t accept direct directions very well. He/she could have made us robots, that you could just program, but that is not a partner. G-d looked to create partners that would appreciate him/her, but also capable of standing up to him/her so that he would not be lonely in the world.
Imagine what it would be like to the only being in the world, and you are master of time as well. How long would it take to be bored if you had no partners to play cards with? (of course not to eat with or sleep with as well). G-d created human beings to be his/her eating and sleeping and playing partners. When you are G-d you can dream up anything including creating a partnership that never bores you or that you can get bored.
We know that the human mind doesn’t like to take orders. That is the essence of being human and being able to rise to the ability to tell your creator to shove off. Only if you have that strength to say no do you have the ability to be a loving partner by choice. G-d wants his partners to come to him/her by choice. When we say brachat and eat Kosher food, G-d is there with us. When we come into the marital chamber, G-d is in the bed with us as a third partner. Who says three is a crowd? When we bring babies into the world, G-d is in there with us. He and we are man and woman, child and adult, lovers, and friends all rolled up into one.
So what vehicle did G-d choose to teach us what he wants? The Torah. Each of the stories and history in G-d’s book is there to teach us how to act and to connect to G-d.
In the Parsha (the weekly Torah section) of Korach, we learn that G-d had to teach the world that Moses was unique and G-d’s special messenger to give the Torah. As I said if the Torah was given as black and white instructions that we had to follow as robots we would be robots, not free agents. When Korach doubts that Moses is THE messenger from G-d, Moses threatens him with the Earth opening up and swallowing him, AND IT DOES.
Now the next step after knowing that Moses’s Torah is G-d’s and not Moses’s is to show that if Moses himself steps out of line, he too will be punished. That is the Parsa of Chukut. Aaron and Miriam die to show that they are human not G-d’s themselves, and Moses gets angry and hits the rock instead of speaking with it. With his anger, he doesn’t obey the boss. If Moses has the strength to be not only G-d’s partner and say no but to override him, we will have a dysfunctional partnership. This is the way marriages work, the partners are equal and you have to constantly satisfy the other in some way in order to avoid arguments, but it doesn’t work so well in the creation of the world.G-d has to lay down the law. He/she has to say that Moses is bringing my book, and it is my book and my book alone. Moses didn’t write it, he is the messenger.
It is done this way to allow us to read the story ourselves and get the point. If it was shoved down our throat we would rebel even if it was good for us, because that is how G-d made us. Not such a simple concept.
Chukut is therefore the culmination of the Torah. Yes, there are more stories, Balak, and two more parshas in Numbers, before we get to the rehash in Deuteronomy, but the main final points are made in Koach and Chukut. This is G-d’s book, brought down from the infinite to the finite by Moses, and don’t doubt that it is my book and even Moses has to tow the line.