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A Cow Above Intellect

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 14/3/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

A Cow Above Intellect

This week we read Parshas Parah which deals with the Parah Adumah.[1] This connects to Purim[2] as is shown in the following: Haman is hinted to in המן העץ, have you eaten of the tree from which I commanded you not to eat (Eitz Hadaas). We know that the Nachash brought death to the world[3] and it is the Parah Adumah that atoned for טמא מת. Furthermore, Parah Adumah is a חוק as it is beyond our understanding and in context of the first sin, the Nachash said if you eat from it then והייתם כאלה-ים, you will be like Hashem.[4] As a result, Parah Adumah atoned for the עגל[5] which brought death back to the world as we were on the level of Adam before the sin, at Matan Torah where death didn’t exist.


Purim and Parah Adumah are both the idea of Emuna. On Purim we fulfill עד דלא ידע, beyond our intellect[6] and concerning the Parah Adumah, even the wisest man, Shlomo, didn’t understand it as it say אמרתי אחכמה והיא רחוקה ממני,[7] I thought I could become wise but it is beyond me.

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] See Mishna Brura 685:1.

[2] Actually, פרים (Purim) is the same sum as פרה אדומה. Also contained in the word פרים is פר.

[3] Chullin 139b, Breishis 3:11. See Shabbos 55b. Additionally, the Nachash said לא מות תמתון, you won’t die (Breishis 3:4).

[4] Bamidbar 19:2. Breishis 3:6.

[5] Is it any coincidence that the word פרה is in כפרה (atonement)?!

[6] Thus Purim is called so (Esther 9:26) על שם הפור, a lottery. This is the essence of Purim—that it seems random but really it is all from Hashem and as it says (Mishlei 16:33) בחיק יוטל את הגורל ומה' כל משפטו, when the lot is cast in the lap, its entire judgement has been decided by Hashem (R’ Karlenstein, Kuntros on Purim p. 105).

[7] Yoma 14a. Koheles 7:23. Only Moshe understood it. The Chida points out the first letters of לטמא מעפר שרפת החטאת, they shall take for the contaminated person some of the ashes of the burning purification animal (Bamidbar 19:17) spell שלמה. The Gemara tells us the 50 Shaarai Binah were given to Moshe. Shlomo wanted to be like Moshe. A Bas Kol then came out and said ישר דברי אמת, words of truth recorded properly (Koheles 12:10) and ולא קם נביא עוד..., a Navi amongst us will never rise like Moshe (Devarim 34:10)—Rosh Hashana 21b. Taking the initials in the proper order (as יושר means straight) we see it spells למשה, since only he understood it. Parenthetically, והיא רחוקה has the same numerical value as פרה אדומה, 341.

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