We cover the 38 years of the wilderness wandering in this portion. The reading opens with instructions for the most peculiar ritual in the Torah—the slaughtered red cow whose ashes mixed with water are used to purify anyone who comes in contact with a corpse. In the purification process, people who are already pure and touch the mixture become impure and must themselves undergo a different process of purification. The reading skips over most of the events of the wilderness wandering without comment and continues in the land of Moab. The people again complain of lack of water, and God tells Moses and Aaron to speak to the rock and produce water. Moses, however, strikes the rock with his staff. Water comes forth, but God declares that this action shows lack of faith, and neither Moses nor Aaron will be permitted to enter the Promised Land. The Israelites wage several battles and win, thus demonstrating that the new generation is ready to attempt the conquest of the land. However, the problems of obedience to God and understanding the responsibilities of leadership have still not been completely resolved.