The portion Chukat begins with the discussion of the process of removing what’s called the impurity of death, the dark energy that comes upon a person when he or she is next to a dead body. However, the kabbalists explain that the purpose of this reading is not just to recount the physical process that one who was around, or touched, a dead body, has to go through before they are once again considered to be pure, but that it goes to a much more important and fundamental point: the removal of the force that creates darkness in one’s life.
Throughout our lives, when we act in a negative way, we connect to that force of darkness, and then that negativity manifests in our lives in one way or another. But Shabbat Chukat is a gift to help us remove all those negative forces that have attached to us; by reading, and connecting to the portion of Chukat, we receive the assistance to detach them.
The kabbalists tell us that even King Solomon refers to this portion and to the process of Parah Adumah, the red heifer, that was burnt and used as a purification tool to remove any attachment to the force of death, when he said, “I tried to attain wisdom, but I found it to be far from me.” And what the kabbalists teach is that to be able to see Light where others see darkness, to be able to reveal Light where others experience darkness, is really the entire purpose we are in this world; the entire purpose our soul was put into this physical body was so that we can, throughout life, find those places that are dark, that have concealed Light within them, and reveal them as Light.
Moses was able to do that all the time, even when experiencing death. When he saw the death of Korach, as well as of Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu, for example, and others saw darkness, he saw only Light. But most people can’t see that Light, and even King Solomon, who understood that the entire purpose of our lives in this world is to experience and go to those places of darkness and reveal Light, said that it is still work for him, it’s far from him, to be able to see those who are experiencing death and be able to maintain consciousness, to be able to see only Light there.
And that’s what Shabbat Chukat is about; it is really the Shabbat when we’re overwhelmed with the force of purification to remove all the attachments that we have brought upon ourselves that manifest as negativity. Ultimately, we want to be on the level of Moses, where no matter what darkness we see, we only see Light. It is a gift of the portion Chukat, the strengthening of our consciousness such that where others might see darkness, we see only the Light that is concealed there.