/ 12 Tamuz 5695 (Diaspora)
Parashat Chukat-Balak is the 39th and 40th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
Chukat (“Law Of”) opens by describing the process of burning the red heifer and using its ashes for purification. It also tells the stories of the deaths of Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ striking of a rock to bring forth water, a plague of venomous snakes, and battles against the Emorite kings Sihon and Og. Balak tells the story of the Moabite king Balak, who hires Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam’s donkey speaks along the way, and Balaam ends up blessing the Israelites. The portion ends with a story about Israelite men sinning with Moabite women and the stabbing of an Israelite and a Midianite. 
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