Why do we read parshas parah before parshas hachodesh? Chronologically, the new month/year would have started before Bnei Yisrael would have had to become tahor for Pesach using the parah?
The order of the parshiyos does not reflect the chronological order in which
events occurred, but rather it reflects the spiritual steps we need to
climb. The Sefas Emes quotes from the Ch
haRI”M that hischadshus can only be built on the ashes of parah adumah. As we discussed yesterday, the taharah of
parah comes from someplace higher than a person’s da’as. “Ain kol chadash tachas ha’shemesh.” As long as a person remains imprisoned by the
limits of his own assumptions, ideas, and intelligence, he/she will discover
nothing new. Throw out the hubris of da’as,
throw out the assumption that chok doesn’t exist, that there is an answer that
can be discovered for everything, reach beyond “tachas hashemesh” and then you
can have real hischadshus.
It sounds so neat and clean, but in reality, at least the way I read it, the
Ch haRI”M is describing a messy, painful process. Sometimes people’s whole world
collapses. They can be faced with
terrible pain and tragedy and struggle understand, “Why is this happening to
me?” In truth, the only answer we can
often offer is that it’s a chok that no amount of explaining can unravel. The Ch haRI”M is reassuring us that the ashes of tragedy that rip apart what is are the first steps to creating
what will be.
When I saw this Ch haRI”M I also could not help but think about modern
Jewish history, about the journey from the ashes of the crematoriums to the
hischadshus of shivas Tzion. I don’t
mean to suggest that one event precipitated the other or was necessary for the
other to occur; I’m just observing the parallel between history and our parshiyos.