When we run into difficult parshiot such as Vayekel-Pekudei, it’s nice to have a fall back such as parshat Parshat Parah to talk about. Parshat Vayekel-Pekudei enumerate all of the offerings brought to build the Mishkan (Tabernable) and all of the different parts of it. These things had been discussed previously and this is kind of summary.
This Shabbat is a special Torah reading attached to the regular parshah called Parshat Parah. It describes the purification ritual for people who have contracted ritual impurity from the dead using the ashes of a completely red cow. There is one cow floating around that fits this description, but it rarely, rarely happens. So make a big deal to read this?
We are currently entering into Pesach (Passover) mode. More than any other holiday, Jews have traditionally gone absolutely nuts over this holiday. There’s a lot of history to this besides the actual observance. Just getting rid of the chametz (bread-type products) and getting all unleavened substance is a whole thing. But there’s more to it.
Back in the day, we did sacrifice. Yes, the ritual slaughter and barbecue of livestock in a public forum. Arguably the most important of these is the Pesach sacrifice, a lamb meant to be eaten at the Pesach Seder at night by Jews organized into groups at night. This is a commemoration of the Exodus, the beginning of the fifty day process that is the defining moment of the Jewish people. Obviously, the bigger the deal something is, the more prep goes behind it.
I plan on writing more about Pesach, but the first piece of the puzzle is to orient the mind toward it. All of the significance of the purification takes a back seat to the concept of preparation, at least here.