Kenneth Cohen

Greater Spirituality-Greater Understanding

The commandment to take the Red Heifer, includes burning it, and using its ashes to purify an individual who has come in contact with the dead. What makes this case, the most difficult to understand, in the entire Torah, is the paradox involved.

On the one hand, it purifies the impure. But, on the other hand, those who prepared the Para Aduma, who were previously pure, now become impure. Nobody, except for Moshe Rabbeinu, was able to understand the true meaning of this law. King Solomon expressed frustration when he confessed that despite his wisdom, this knowledge of the reason for the Red Heifer, alluded him.

The explanation to this, is very important to understand. If one wants to truly understand the wisdom and reasons for the laws of the Torah, it does not depend on wisdom alone. It depends on the level of spirituality that the person possesses.

Moshe Rabbeinu reached the highest level of spirituality, known to man. As he went higher and higher, the secrets of the Torah became revealed to him.

When one takes a look at Judaism, from the outside looking in, he will find many of the Torah’s laws perplexing. Contrast this to one who lives the Torah and learns about it through experiencing it. He is able to better understand the Torah’s wisdom, and everything makes sense.

Shabbat observance is the perfect example. Experiencing the holiness of this special day, allows one to appreciate its beauty. The outsider sees this day as one of numerous laws and restrictions. Someone once said, that explaining the beauty of Shabbat, is like describing a beautiful sunset to a blind man.

If one wishes to understand the depth and specialness of Judaism, he must live it. And as one goes higher and higher, like Moshe, more and more will be revealed to him.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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