Candle lighting on South Whidbey is 8:54 for Shabbat, 10:02 for havdalah. This week’s parsha is Chukat (decree), covering Numbers 19:1-21:1, containing the ritual of the red heifer (parah adumah).
Quick synopsis of the ritual: unblemished red heifer is sacrificed, ashes are mixed with other herbs to create water of “lustration”, used to remove the uncleanliness that comes from touching corpses.
Chukat details the death of Miriam and her burial in the city of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin and how her brother, Moses, was able to get water from a rock when the well dried after her death. And burning snakes. In Chukat, the Israelites kvetching is halted in the face of a plague of burning snakes, which we can all agree is most unpleasant.
Tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Tamuz.