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Reading the Bible Very Slowly : Chukat, חֻקַּת (Ordinance of), Numbers 19:1-22:1

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Chukat, Hukath, or Chukkas (חֻקַּת — Hebrew for “decree,” — the ninth word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 39th weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the sixth in the book of Numbers. It constitutes Numbers 19:1–22:1. The parashah is made up of 4,670 Hebrew letters, 1,245 Hebrew words, and 87 verses, and can occupy about 159 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).[1]

Jews generally read it in late June or July. The lunisolar Hebrew calendar contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying among years. In most years (for example, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017), parashah Chukat is read separately. In some years (for example, 2009, when the second day of Shavuot fell on a Sabbath in the Diaspora), parashah Chukat is combined with the subsequent parashah, Balak, to help achieve the needed number of weekly readings.

Jews also read the first part of the parashah, Numbers 19:1–22, in addition to the regular weekly Torah portion, on the Sabbath after Purim, called Shabbat Parah. On Shabbat Parah, a reader chants the regular weekly Torah portion first, and then a reader chants the chapter of the red cow (פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה, parah adumah). Shabbat Parah occurs shortly before Passover, and Numbers 19:1–22 sets out the procedure by which the Israelites could purify themselves from the contamination caused by a corpse, and so prepare for the pilgrimage festival of Passover.

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 17:00
ARBOR CAFE -- 4210 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland more
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