This week, we are taught the law of the Red Heifer. If someone comes in contact with a dead body, they have to be purified by being sprinkled with water mixed with the ashes of the Red Heifer. Regarding this mitzvah, the Torah says, Zot chukat haTorah (“This is the decree of the Torah”), which tell us that there is something about this mitzvah that is central to Torah and its observance.

This mitzvah is a chok, a commandment with a rational beyond human comprehension, done just because it is G‑d’s will.

What are some of the lessons that we can take from this mitzvah?

The first is that we must be alive. Our attitude, outlook and focus must be positive and forward-thinking. Some see Torah as a bunch of rules telling them what they can’t do. To them, it becomes a miserable ball and chain they lug around. Some even take pride in this form of misery: “Look at how much I suffer for G‑d!”

This is not living. The Torah wants us to purify ourselves from even contact with death. To live with Torah is to see the positive purpose and mission that G‑d has given us. Instead of a ball and chain, Torah becomes wings with which to soar. Mitzvahs become a joy.

Another thing we can learn from the Red Heifer is that its reason is beyond human comprehension. We only do it because it is G‑d’s will. The same could be true about all the mitzvahs. Even the ones we do understand, we can and should do for a higher purpose because it is G‑d’s will. This makes our seemingly mundane actions meaningful, too.

Being unable to do anything for myself, I see more than ever how simple actions can be meaningful and G‑dly. Just others sitting nearby, keeping me company, is so precious to me.

This perhaps is the most important lesson of all.

It is easy to see prayer, Torah study, tefillin, Shabbat candles, etc., as sacred. Yet to G‑d, our most mundane acts can be holy. This is especially true when we show kindness to one another, the most G‑dly act of all.