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As a result, the red heifer was rare and costly, and several stories are told in the Talmud about the exorbitant price demanded for it TJ, Pe'ah , 15c; Kid. Although it was impossible to prepare the ashes of the red heifer after the destruction of the Temple, its use did not cease with the destruction, since there was still a supply of the ashes. As late as the amoraic period, those who had become ritually unclean through contact with the dead still used to cleanse themselves with it see Nid. Gilat, Mishnato shel R. Eliezer b.

Hyrcanus , ; Neusner , ff. Even after it ceased entirely, however, the rabbis still regarded its regulations as of importance in teaching a profound lesson. It is one of the laws about which "the evil inclination and the gentile nations" deride the Jews and weaken their religious loyalties Num. Even Solomon, the wisest of men, was baffled by it Eccles. Zakkai once replied to a gentile that the sprinkling of the holy water of the heifer's ashes can be compared to exorcising a demon from a person Num. It is even stated that the reason was not revealed to Moses himself Eccles.

Several homiletical interpretations of the red heifer are given, one being that it was to atone for the sin of the golden calf, so that the mother — the red heifer — should purify the defilement caused by her offspring, the golden calf PR a and see the whole chapter. Nevertheless, the rabbis of the talmudic period never really solved these problems Urbach, see bibl. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers , —4. Baumgarten, in: VT 43 , —51; B.

Levine, Numbers 1 — 20 AB; , —79; J. Kook, in: Sinai , 30 , 29— Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. All Rights Reserved. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library.

For Real, How Rare Is a Red Heifer? - Questions & Answers

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He cannot enter the Holy Temple or partake of the sacrificial offerings or other sacred foods until he purifies himself. As part of the purification process, the priests would slaughter the red heifer and burn it on a pyre, together with a cedar branch, hyssop sprig and crimson wool. They would then take the ashes, mix them with spring water, and sprinkle the mixture onto the impure person. For more on all this, see Meet the Red Heifer. Well, the Torah gives us quite a list of criteria:. Even two hairs of a different color next to each other or three that are far apart disqualify it.

Finding a red heifer that fulfills all of these specifications, although not impossible, is unusual. There is, however, a common misconception about the rarity of the red heifer. Maimonides writes:. Nine red heifers were offered from the time that they were commanded to fulfill this mitzvah until the time when the Temple was destroyed a second time. The first was brought by Moses , our teacher. The second was brought by Ezra.

Seven others were offered until the destruction of the Second Temple. And the tenth will be brought by the King Moshiach ; may he speedily be revealed. Some take these words to mean that only nine qualifying red heifers have ever existed, and the birth of the tenth one will be a sign of the redemption. In truth, however, the ashes of a red heifer can last for a very long time, since only a very small amount was needed to be mixed with the purifying waters.

So the fact that only nine were ever used for purification purposes does not mean that only nine were ever born, just that only nine were needed or used thus far.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the above quote from Maimonides is out of character for him. In Mishneh Torah, Maimonides simply enumerates the laws. May he speedily be revealed. Only here, where the main topic is the parah adumah and Moshiach is only mentioned in passing, does he add the prayer. The Rebbe explains that Maimonides is actually teaching us a halachah —that a Jew must always yearn for the redemption, to the point that whenever Moshiach is mentioned, even if only in passing, he or she should automatically pray that he come speedily.

If Maimonides were to only add the prayer when discussing the laws of Moshiach, one could think that a prayer is only warranted if that is the actual topic of discussion. By adding it when Moshiach is only mentioned in passing, we learn that it should always be on our mind. Taken that way, perhaps the people who see red cows and immediately think of Moshiach are onto something. Rabbi, Can any one tell me that one of the criteria for Red Heifer qualification is : it has to fed in Bashan.

It has to graze in Bashan. Is it true. Please clarify. I think I have red it some which I don't remember now may be from temple institute web site. Suppose if a red heifer is born in India will it qualify. It is axiomatic, however, that human inability to comprehend such decrees indicates the limitation of the student and not the teacher Rambam. HaShem, blessed be He, has hidden things in His Word for us to search out.

Red Heifer Rarity They are very rare in that they must have no black or white hairs, let alone all the other stipulations in Torah. Rabbis have gotten excited several times only to find that the heifer was not a pure, or uniform, red-brown color. Even with the "Gertudis Santa" breed. I believe the color has mostly been interbred with other cattle to make them hardier, more resistant to diseases. I heard that when they find one that is all "red", that's a sign Moshiach will come.

Don't know if it is true or not. In fact, the prophet Ezekiel says as much in end of the book of Ezekiel.

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Ezekial also describes the sacrifice which is to take place as an abomination Reply. Red Heifer Karen I disagree with you with you. In the area where I live there are no Red Heifer's Have visited many farmers great distances and not seen a Red Heifer. What about the lamb G-d has commanded to be sacrificed as an offering. In my eyes the meat we eat is also sacrificed. There many different view points from this article that are very educational to learn. Were taught that touching or being in the same room with the corpse we be come impure. This is very interesting and insightful point.

To my understanding of G-d's plan which is given and written for us through the prophets and way before that through the symbolical layout of the Tabernacle, the laws, the annual ceremonial activities, and through the clothing of the high priest, I don't think the Moshiach will offer a Red Heifer in order to atone His people Israel; for as it is clearly stated in Isaiah 53, He will offer Himself not an animal sacrifice.

What is written is G-d's Word. In all honesty red cows and bulls are not that rare. We have a red santa gertudis bull and half dozen red angus he breeds to every year. You are so right about Sefira's art!! You know that piece that currently on the home page of Chabad with the key? It's the art that goes with "The Day the King Woke up. But when I clicked on the article to see the art better, there is not that same piece!!!

I really would love to see that whole piece. I think we can only see a part of that painting on the home page. I love that one! I love all her art! Amazing how much this Rabbi packed into a few paragraphs using simple language and basic sentence structure. I appreciate it. I am joyful when I find my understanding is correct and also when I discover there are holes in understanding so they can be corrected.

He was Jewish and his family was from France. He raised cattle for meat and among the cattle there was a substantial number of Red Heifers. In my opinion, they were beautiful specimens. Granted, we did not attempt to look for three white hairs or blemishes I am surprised that our Rabbi showed no interest in researching this further. We had the cattle, and it might have been an opportunity? Just thought that I would mention this fact, for there are a lot of red cattle How Rare Is a Red Heifer?

If we use the standards of those who say the red heifer can not have three hairs that are not red, I would say it is probably rarer than a two headed cow. I would guess that finding a bright red-orange cow or even a brown cow that looks monochromatic to the casual viewer is hardly something to challenge belief. But to find a red cow or a cow of any color that has less than 3 hairs of a second color is something I would call a miracle.

For Real, How Rare Is a Red Heifer?

I think chances of finding a 2 headed cow are better than the chances of discovering the rabbinical description of a red heifer. There's eyelashes, lip hairs, tail tuft, ear hairs, underbelly, etc. Get real! I'm not a farmer but I would love to see what a dairy farmer thinks about the chances of finding or breeding a totally red heifer.

Question Is this so? The purification process cleansed the person who came in contact with the corpse. However, those priests involved in the purification process became ritually impure. Santa Gertrudis and Red Angus cattle Both of these cattle breeds should be a source of red heifers. I suggest going to the Oklahoma State University web site and search for both "santa gertrudis" and "red angus" in their search window if you want more information on these breeds.

I'd post the links myself but this is not allowed by this website. Indeed, the Santa Gertrudis breed should perform very well in Israel given its genetics.