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    The microcosm & the macrocosm

    What a strange law is spelled out when we read about the parah adumah, the red heifer (Num. 19).

    It cries out for an explanation – but we don’t get one.

    It continues to puzzle the human mind.

    For firm believers there is no question: if this is what God requires, so be it.

    For adamant non-believers there is no answer: with all the preachments and precedents of the men of religion, they say, these laws of the Torah defy logic.

    Is there, then, nothing we can say about the red heifer law?

    Actually there is a great deal that can be said, especially that there are some (or many) things in human experience which are beyond us … both in the microcosm and in the macrocosm.

    In the microcosm there are people like me who can switch on a computer and use it without having the faintest idea how a computer functions. Nonetheless in spite of all our ignorance we know that things work.

    In the macrocosm we see birth and death, illness and health, suffering and joy, and we more or less know how to handle the spectrum of human experience but we can’t work out the ultimate answers to the eternal “Why?”

    History confronts us with innumerable quandaries and we can only say, “Lord God, Thou knowest”.

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