The red heifer rite is often held up as a prime example of a mitzvah without visible rhyme or reason, given to teach us to obey instructions simply because God said so. This ritual was, in fact, fully understood in biblical times. Furthermore, it is a fundamental principle of covenant that the commandments are given, not to train us to robotic conforming obedience in the service of God, but rather to improve people and their character traits. As such, they need to be explained rationally, and clarified in presentation, so that people will fully understand which improvements they should work on to become a better human being and partner with God, in living and applying the Torah to make a better world.
Download or listen to the full Dvar Torah below.