This week’s Torah portion covers Numbers 19:1 to 22:1. Numbers 19 starts out with God instructing both Moses and Aaron on the law of the red heifer. According to the law, a red heifer must be found which has no blemish or defect and has never “borne a yoke.” After slaughtering the perfect red heifer, its blood was to be sprinkled seven times near the Tabernacle. It was to be burned with cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson and the ashes were carefully preserved.
If anyone in the community encountered death and did not abide by the law of the red heifer, they were cut off from the community.
Now, much of the law in the Torah has obvious benefits for the welfare of the community or the individuals. But there are certain types of laws that make no rational sense. They are statutes with no explainable earthly purpose. According to the rabbis, however, the law of the red heifer holds the crown as the most irrational of all the irrational statues.