Parashat Chukat-Balak

Numbers 19:1 - 25:9

Micah 5:6 - 6:8

More on this Torah Portion


Jealousy can paralyze us and force us to define ourselves by another person's successes.

Why Words Can Hurt

Just as words can push people apart, so too can they bring us closer.

Bullying and Name Calling

In his anger, Moses uses a destructive label for his people in public.

Saying No To Temptation

Not giving in to temptations helps us to clarify our values and stick to our convictions.

Open Your Eyes

The prophet Balaam's curse, which becomes a blessing, is a reflection of the relationship between God and the Israelites.

When We Lose Control

Hukkat: A resource for families

Remembering Miriam

A closer look at Moses's sister.

Challah for Parashat Hukkat

Slaughtering the red heifer.

Parashat Chukat Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

Parashat Balak Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

The Gift of Speech

What Bilaam's donkey and under-represented minorities have in common.

No & Maybe

We cannot slip into loopholes and forego responsibility.

The Nature of Balaam’s Prophecy

How to learn from biblical nature imagery.

Tools of Justice

Our actions and our words must be in line with one another.

Water Consciousness

How to send environmental problems down the drain.

Balaam Versus Pinhas

Pinhas saw the relationship of an Israelite and a Midianite as a curse--but perhaps he, like Balaam, could have turned it into a blessing.

Distance and Proximity

The story of King Balak and Balaam demonstrates that truly seeing others is what allows fears to dispel.

Responding to Thirst

Moses' frustration and fatigue were no excuse for his refusal to accept the people's cry for help.

Preparing for an Unknown Future

The Torah law about the red heifer was given because it anticipated the temporal nature and limitation of what Miriam had to offer.

Instructed To Curse, Inspired To Bless

He came to curse, and ended up reciting a blessing so beautiful it is prominent in our liturgy.

Spirit Strength

Balak intuited an important truth about the Israelites: Their strength was spiritual, not military.


Numbers 22:2-25:9


Numbers 19:1-22:1

The Waters of Lustration: Tears and Tzedakah

Jewish sources suggest tears and tzedakah [charity] as two modern replacements for the Red Heifer, two ways to purify ourselves from the death and destruction that surround us.

A Flawed Hero

Moses' fatal flaw is his inability to wean his people from their dependence on him.

Highest Standards

Because of his position of leadership, Moses is judged extremely harshly when he sins.

Seeing Their Faces But Not Their Doors

The Israelites' dwellings in the wilderness provide us with a model for ensuring the existence and dignity of adequate housing for all members of society.

Not Seeing Is The Sin

Like Balaam, we should open our eyes to seeing the problematic paths we take in life.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Miriam, whose death is recorded in Parashat Hukkat, embodied the honor and glory of the women of Israel.

When To Talk And When To Act

Comparing Moshe to Yiftah raises questions about when we should be people of speech and when we should be people of action.

The Place From Which We Pray

Unlike Abraham, Bil'am failed to examine his own prayers and intentions, attributing their failure to his location of prayer.

Which Is Mightier: The Word Or The Sword?

Bil'am's death by sword at the hands of the Israelites is ironic retribution for his verbal power over them.

Two Strikes And They’re Out?

Though we may challenge the severity of Moses' and Aaron's punishment for striking the rock, we affirm sacredness by trying to comprehend it.

No Rest(s) For The Wicked

Unlike Jewish prophets, Balaam was merely a mouthpiece for the word of God, not an active participant engaged in transmitting God's message to humanity.

Facing Long-Standing Foes

Several commentators identify the Canaanites with whom the Israelites fought as the nation of Amalek, continuing the Israelites struggle against their age-old enemy.

Miriam: Water Under The Bridge?

Miriam's death should motivate us to recognize people today who provide nurture and support.