Thursday, July 03, 2008

Chukas: resting on your laurels

Parshat Chukas

The Parsha concludes with how the Jews smote Og and took over the land of Bashan. Then it concludes with one last passuk, that is even the first of a new perek, and says they traveled to Arvos Moav.

Why does it not conclude the parsha with the battle of Og and start the next parsha with the travel to Arvos Moav? Anyway that is really relevant to the parsha of Balak and Bila'am and not to us in this parsha, so why did chazal make the portion break after that last passuk and not before?

I do not ask why the perek is begun with this passuk rather than the one after it, because the chapeters were delineated not by Jewish sources, so that has less meaning. But the portion itself (the paragraph markers, so to speak) is marked after this passuk, and the parsha concludes with this last passuk. Why?

I would suggest that they could have stopped after what was definitely a big battle with Og. they could have stayed a while and rested, enjoyed a bit of respite, before they moved on.

But no - it says the nest passuk right away to tell us that they right away moved on. They went to Arvos Moav right away and continued on the journey to Eretz Yisrael.

They refused to sit on their success. One must always continue progressing.

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