Red Heifer Update, September 2018

The following is courtesy of the Temple Institute. Click on the video below for red heifer coverage.

On the 17th day of Elul, 5778, (August 28, 2018), a red heifer was born in the land of Israel. The red heifer candidate is being raised and specially cared for under the auspices of the Temple Institute’s ‘Raise a Red Heifer’ program. One week after its birth the heifer underwent an extensive examination by rabbinical experts, who determined that the heifer is currently a viable candidate for the Biblical red heifer (para aduma) described in Numbers, chapter 19, and will be examined again in three months time to determine whether it continues to possess the necessary qualifications for the red heifer, a necessary prerequisite for the renewal of the Divine service in the Holy Temple. The rabbinical experts who conducted the examination stress that the heifer, while currently bearing the required qualifications could, at any time in the future, become disqualified through natural causes, and therefore the heifer will be periodically re-examined.

Click on link below for additional analysis.

 

Numbers 19:1-2 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.

The ashes from the sacrifice of the red heifer are necessary for purification prior to the building of the Temple.

Let’s look at the qualifications of the red heifer per the Bible in Numbers 19:1-2.

Interpretation of verses provided by the Temple Institute. This is the criteria used for the identification of the red heifer.

…and take a heifer… Since the verse instructs us to take a heifer, we do not purchase a calf and wait for it to grow older while in our custody; “and take a heifer” means that the act of acquisition has to take place while the animal is a heifer. However, if a red calf is available, a price can be set with its owner, and the transaction can be concluded, but we do not take possession until it reaches the proper age as mandated by the Bible.

A heifer by definition is a female cow.

…an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect… This means that the presence of as few as two hairs of any other color will render it invalid. Even its hooves must be red. It must also be totally free from any physical blemish or defect, whether internal or external. A list of blemishes that would disqualify the animal for sacrifice are noted in Leviticus 22.

…on which a yoke has never been placed. The red heifer must have never been used to perform any physical labor. This would include riding, or even leaning on her. But if a yoke were placed upon her even once, even if she were not used to plow – this would be enough to render the heifer unfit for use.

Three to four years of age is an oral tradition that has been passed down through the generations.

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