This week we read the Torah portion of 'Chukat', which means 'The Law'. We read about the law of the red heifer - the red cow that was sacrificed and who's ashes were mixed with water and used to purify one who had come in contact with a dead body. Throughout the generations there were nine such red heifers sacrificed, the tenth will be brought at the coming of Moshiach.

This Mitzva is seemingly quite strange. So much so that King Solomon, famed for his great wisdom, wrote in his book Ecclesiastes that he was able to understand the reasoning behind every one of the 613 commandments in the Torah, aside for the red heifer. Even he could not comprehend how the ashes of a red cow could purify a human being.

Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish sage, and royal physician at the court of the Sultan of Egypt, Saladin, writes that it was necessary to always have some of the ashes of every red heifer ever brought stored away. Why, out of all Jewish relics, was it necessary to specifically store the ashes of the red heifer and assure that there always would be some around?

The deeper message behind this somewhat strange ritual is that the red heifer represents life. It was through it that the impurity that was brought on by death was annulled.

By always keeping some of ashes around, the Jews were always reminded that however many hardships we might go through, the day would come when all death, suffering, hardship, disease and war would disappear forever. There would always come a light at the end of the tunnel.

However many times we may stumble or encounter difficulties we should remember that we have the power to triumph and come out stronger.

Rabbi Avrohom