General Overview: This week’s Torah Parsha, Chukat, begins with a discussion regarding the laws of the red heifer. Miriam and Aaron die. When the Jews are in need of water, Moshe strikes a rock – despite being commanded to talk to it. Waters stream forth, but Moshe is banned from entering Israel. Amalek battles the Israelites and is defeated. Edom and Moav refuse the Israelites passageway to Israel. The Israelites battle Sichon and Og, and are victorious.

The most severe of all ritual impurities is tum’at met, the impurity contracted through contact with a human corpse. This Aliya details the purification process for an individual or object which has contracted this form of impurity. A red heifer is slaughtered and is burned together with a few added ingredients. Water from a stream is  added to the ashes. On the third and seventh day after contracting tum’at met, this mixture is sprinkled upon the individual or object. After immersion in a mikvah (ritual pool), the person or object is freed of this impurity.