Parashat Chukat (The laws of the red heifer)
It was said of Reb Simcha Bunem that he carried two slips of paper, one in each pocket.
On one he wrote: —“for my sake the world was created.” On the other he wrote: ”—“I am but dust and ashes.”
In this parasha we meet with a weird ritual. If someone was impure, he would have to become pure after being sprinkled with a formula based on the ashes of the red heifer together with cedar wood, hyssop, and a crimson worm.
Why these animals? Why such a formula?
The "magic" formula that helped a person to return to "normal life" included the biggest animal available (red heifer), the smallest one (worm), the biggest tree (cedar), and the smallest vegetable (hyssop).
The formula combined the biggest and the smallest types of life in nature.
Life is a combination of great and tiny moments.
In the happiest ones, we need to look at the paper that says “I am but dust and ashes." In the difficult ones, we need to take a look at the paper that says “for my sake the world was created.”