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Red Heifer

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The Animal whose ashes were used in ritual purification of persons and objects defiled by a corpse (Num. 19) While the English term heifer means young cow that has not had a calf, the Bible (Num. 19:2) speaks simply of a cow (Heb. Parah). The Bible prescribes that the red cow be without blemish (Heb. temimah), that it have no defect (Heb. mum), and that it should never been yoked (Num. 19:22).

The Ashes of the red heifer were combined with spring water (Heb. Mayim chayyim) in a vessel (Num. 19:17) to produce a mixture called “the water of lustration” (Heb. meniddah). The mixture was applied by dipping into it and sprinkling (Num.19:18) on the 3rd and 7th days after the defilement (Num. 19:19). This defilement was acquired by touching a corpse, a grave, or a human bone, or by being under the same roof with any of these.

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  • Red Heifer
    The Animal whose ashes were used in ritual purification of persons and objects defiled by a corpse (Num. 19) While the English term heifer means young cow that has not had a calf, the Bible (Num. 19:2) speaks simply of a cow (Heb. Parah). The Bible prescribes that the red cow be without blemish (Heb. […]
  • Mikveh
    A collection of water A pool or bath of clear water, immersion in which renders ritually clean a person who become ritually unclean through contact with the dead (Num. 19) or any other defiling object or through an unclean flux from the body (Lev. 15) and especially a menstruant. It is similarly used for vessels […]
  • Water of Purifying
    Water mixed with the ashes of the red hefer See also Purity in Second Temple Times, and Ablution
  • Purity in Second Temple Times
    This array of vessels from Jerusalem provides evidence of the stone-craving industry that flourished in the city at the end of the Second Temple Period (form the first century B.C.E. until the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.). Highly skilled artisans carved this collection, which includes small household mugs (foreground), a wine jar (left […]
  • Ablution (Immersion)
    This informative excerpt from the Encyclopedia Judaica 2:81-82 provides a detailed explanation of the significance and symbolism involved in the act of ritual immersion or ablution in the Jewish faith. This powerful act of washing serves to transform an individual from a state of impurity to a state of purity, enabling them to participate in […]

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