You: “Because I said so!” (Inner monologue: “OMG, I’ve become my parents!!)”
Not everything that our wisdom, experience, or instinct as parents has relevance or traction with our children. Not everything that we know to be a danger or an imperative will have any meaning to them until they experience the circumstances which led us to the advisory or prohibition. Do you think that the imperatives given to us by Avinu Shebashamayim, our Heavenly Parent, would be any different?
By all accounts, the laws of the red heifer, read this week with their inherent contradictions, are a logical mystery. It’s seemingly a random Mitzva; the fact that the functionary of a ritual designed to restore holiness to an unclean individual should become ritually impure makes no sense. But maybe that’s the point.
Who knows why a day is 24 hours long? Or why all the planets, (except for maybe Venus?) rotate counterclockwise? Why G-d chose green for plants which clean the air with chlorophyll, or why a platypus, as a mammal, lays eggs?
Sometimes, it’s best to not ask questions, but just accept. I don’t know why our cosmic design does what it does, but I know that I’m thankful for it. I’m grateful for the fact that days happen, and that our planet rotates. I’m not impartial to green, want to preserve the forests which regenerate our oxygen, and am greatly amused by mammals which could play ping-pong with their snouts. Do I know who is responsible? Of course.
Our daily morning service begins with a series of 15 blessings which, directly or by extension, express thanksgiving for all aspects of the good granted to us by G-d which we need for our daily existence. As many of you know, the Hebrew numerical value of 15 is equal to the value (gematria) of the name of the Divine. Every day, we tie our very existence to G-d’s name and influence.
Can I explain or understand it? No. Am I grateful for it? Of course. Will I give thanks for every single daily miracle? Should it, or does it, diminish my faith? Of course not. I may not know why G-d divined what They did, but I am eternally grateful, and will say a blessing for each and every commandment.
Whether it’s obscure laws about a red cow, the fact that the sun rises and sets, that I have rules about what I can eat or not, or the fact that my kid is brilliant, I know who to blame.
It’s because G-d said so.
Rabbi/Hazzan David B. Sislen