Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states זאת חקת התורה this is the chok of the Torah. What does חקת mean and what does it refer to?

Onkelos often translates חוק as קים, statute; here he translates as גזירה, decree. Rashi explains that a חוק is a mitzvah without a reason, such as not eating chazir, not wearing sha’atnez, and the purification of mei chatos. A mitzvah with a reason is called משפט. A person wonders to himself about chukim, and the Satan and the non-Jews pester Yisrael about them, saying, “What is the need to keep these mitzvos and what are their reasons?” Hashem says “It is a חוק, decree before me, don’t think to question it!” Shlomo HaMelech said אמרתי אחכמה והיא רחוקה I said I am smart, but it is distant from me.” The Torah states about understanding the Torah “לא נפלאת היא ממך ולא רחוקה היא it is not separated from you and it is not distant,” yet the reasoning for the parah adumah is unknown.

The Rambam explains that every single mitzvah has a reason. The חוקים of Hashem are similar to the decrees of a king which he engraves, יחוק, in his kingdom without revealing to his nation the reasons and benefits for them. The people of the nation do not have pleasure from them, rather they think in their hearts what is its purpose? They accept because of their fear of the king’s ruler ship. So too the חוקי ה’ are secrets of the תורה, things which are engraved deeply and people don’t understand or benefit. This is hinted in the Midrash Tanchuma: Hashem said to Moshe “I will reveal to you the reason for the parah adumah, and not to others.” We see from this that even chukim have reasons, however they are kept hidden from us. The Yotzros adds that l’asid Hashem will reveal to us the reason for the parah adumah.

The Sefer HaChinuch brings that the main wonder about the parah adumah is that it purifies those who are tamei, yet is metamei the Kohanim which are tahor that are involved with its preparation. The Yotzros adds that the water of purification has tumah as an av hatumah, yet it purifies an avi avos hatumah, which is a higher level of tumah. Although by all inner sin-offerings that are burnt, the Kohanim who burn it will become tamei, it is understood, since it does not give purification to others. However the parah adumah provides purification for others who are sprinkled, yet it is metamei those involved.

In pesukei d’zimra we say חקיו ומשפטיו לישראל לא עשה כן לכל גוי ומשפטים בל ידעום His statutes and laws are for Yisrael, He did not do this for any non-Jew, and the understandable laws they do not understand. The Malbim explains that only the Yidden received משפט, logical rules, from Hashem, however the non-Jew did not even receive logical rules. They go without proper evaluation and measure, groping for suitable rules and regulations.

May we fulfill all the mitzvos, with or without understanding the reasons, and completely accept Hashem as king!

Leave a Reply