On Shabbat Parah we take out a second Torah and read about the red heifer whose ashes were used to purify those who came into contact with death. The Talmud also describes the red heifer as atonement for the sin of the golden calf, which the people worshipped after they thought Moshe had abandoned them. In both instances people experienced profound loneliness, as if they were left totally alone in this world. The Torah teaches that this is never true for I cried out to the Lord in my distress and He answered me. God never abandons us and therefore the mere experience of abandonment requires atonement.