Thursday, March 16, 2006


Maybe it's just my sort of "out of the box" mind, but I like to use opposites for teaching.

When I teach reading, I teach the long and short vowels simultaneously. And I like to teach words in pairs. I think it helps. Also with grammar. To teach what I call the "passive" and "active" adjectives, I teach this sentence:

The bored student slept because of the boring teacher.

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parah, the Sabbath of the "Red Heifer." The Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer, is required during the time of the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple.

The Haftarah read on the Sabbath of Parashat Parah contains the verse, "And I shall sprinkle pure water upon you, that you be cleansed. From all your contamination and from all your filth I will cleanse you" (Ezekiel 36:25). There are other parallels in the Haftarah between the concepts of sin represented by contamination, and atonement represented by purity.

It is extremely rare; every hair on its body must be of the required red. Whenever a calf that seems totally red is born, there are headlines in the Jewish world announcing that there may possibly be that rarest of rare creatures. I don't think that there is one or has been for centuries or longer.

In contrast another rarity mentioned in the Torah is the "rebellious son." There are very, very specific details and descriptions in terms of age and behavior or a son to be considred "rebellious" and deserving the extreme punishment.
"When a man has a wayward, rebellious son, who does not obey his father and mother, they shall have him flogged. If he still does not listen to them... [the parents] must declare to the elders of his city, 'Our son is wayward and rebellious. He does not listen to us, and is an (exceptional) glutton and drunkard.' "(Deut. 21:18)

As a result, it is believed that no child ever fit the description. But there were "parot adumot" at the time of the Temple to cleanse people of contamination.

So does that mean that there are more chances for good and repentance, than there are chances for evil?

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