By, Jonathan Korn, Editor
In this week’s portion we learn about the red cow. Which, to clarify, does not refer to the name I gave my perpetually angry GCSE Science teacher. Rather, it describes a sacrifice, the ashes of which were used to purify those who had come into contact with the dead. I’m not sure whether artificially-grown red heifers have yet been mooted as a potential antidote to Covid-19, but if not, it can’t hurt to give it a try.
Elsewhere, Moses and his family had a week just about on a par with that of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Miriam dies; then Aaron who presumably resented his sister, steals the limelight by snuffing it too.
If God felt Moses wasn’t yet miserable enough, he ended off the week by banning his most faithful servant from entering the Promised Land of Israel, after he had the temerity to smack a pebble with particular vigour. And in case God felt a further demonstration of his benevolence (and sense of proportionality) was in order, he sets venomous snakes on the Israelites after they say mean things about him. At times, this portion feels like a mash-up of Snakes on a Plane and Mean Girls!
The portion ends with the Israelites conquering land East of the Jordan River by the power of the sword, in spite of numerous Yachad petitions warning that diaspora Jewry would condemn such a brazen show of aggression. So, in a way, the story ends happily ever after. Unless you live East of the Jordan River.