Even King Solomon, the wisest of men, couldn’t understand the mysteries of the red heifer, a cow that was burned and its ashes used to purify people.
Our Sages say that it atones for the sin of the Golden Calf. “Let the mother come and clean up the mess of he child.” But what is the connection?
The golden calf was made because the people miscalculated and thought Moshe was late in coming down the mountain. They reasoned that he was dead and they needed another intermediary to G-d. Aaron, the high-priest, assisted because he figured he’d be able to stall them.
All these rationales may have sounded good, but they were wrong and brought about terrible consequences.
Perhaps the atonement the Red Heifer offers for the Golden Calf is that it teaches us to act without having to understand, and to obey without knowing the reasoning.
When G-d gives us a commandment, we do it just because He said so.  After all, He is our parent.

– Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

SPARKS of JUDAISM
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