This Shabbat is called SHABBAT PARAH. After the regular Torah reading Vayakhel and Pekudei, the Maftir is read from a different scroll: Parashat PARAH teaching us about the Red Hefer (Parah Adumah). The Parah reading is taken from Parashat Chukat (the Book of Numbers / Sefer Bamidbar) 1:19 – 22.
This Shabbat we read two Parashot in the Synagogues and thus finish Sefer Shemot (Exodus). Next week we are going to start with Sefer Vayikra (the Book of Leviticus).
Our Sages teach that the Parah Adumah is beyond human understanding. How can something purify and, at the same time when the hefer is burnt, make a Cohen impure (tame’i) ? Even the wise Shlomo HaMelech (King Salomon) gave up on that. Originally, the Parah Adumah served as a purification for the Jews in the desert. After the sin with the Golden Calf (Egel HaZahav). Moreover, the Torah in Parashat Chukat teaches that the ashes of the Red Hefer also serve as purification for Jews who came in touch with a dead body.
There are all kinds of people who consider the law of the Parah Adumah as rather strange and purposeless. Rashi teaches that it is a decree of the One Who gave the Torah, and it is not for anyone to question it. According to Rambam (Maimonides) there is nothing meaningless or purposeless in the Torah, and if it seems so, it is only a product of our own deficiency.
I am still going to another few commentaries to find out a bit more.
Jerusalem: This Shabbat begins on Friday at 5.10 pm and ends on Saturday at 6.23 pm. For those keeping Rabbeinu Tam, Shabbat ends at 7.03 pm.