Pinchas - Uprooting Sinful Thoughts

Distress the Midianites, and you shall smite them.
צָרוֹר אֶת הַמִּדְיָנִים וְהִכִּיתֶם אוֹתָם

Bamidbar 25:17
The Slonimer Rebbe in The Netivot Shalom raises a question from The Or HaChaim HaKadosh. Why does this parshah put this injunction here to 'distress the Midianites', since the actual war against the Midianites takes place in next week's parshah Mattot?
"Take revenge for the children of Israel against the Midianites; afterwards you will be gathered to your people."
נְקֹם נִקְמַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֵת הַמִּדְיָנִים אַחַר תֵּאָסֵף אֶל עַמֶּיךָ

Bamidbar 31:2 (Parsha Mattot)

Chukat - Overcoming the Irrational

This week at lunch we were discussing the gourmet dairy treats that would be served in the office in the afternoon, that the secretary was ordering. So most of us ordered paarve food for lunch.

One of the non-observant guys was confused, so my colleague explained that after meat some wait as long as six hours before having dairy food.

"Why? For health reasons or something?" the guy asked.
"No," my colleague explained, "it just says in the Torah the basic kosher laws."
"But doesn't the Torah stipulate the benefit? Like this will keep you healthy, or even by maintaining these strictures you will be ensured wealth?"
"No, this is simply the injunctions made by the Torah. We are serving the will of Hashem."
"That's completely irrational. You are just doing something that was proscribed, without any understanding of why, or what the purpose or benefit is?" the non-observant guy asked.

"If you think that is irrational, let me tell you about this week's parshah," I said.

It starts off with "This is the statute of the Torah" - declaring the mitzvah of the red heifer, an enigmatic law that defies logic and has no explanation associated with it, yet requiring our pure compliance.