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The Red Heifer


A heifer is a young female bovine (cow) prior to the time that she has produced her first calf. God has specified a "red heifer" for the purification of the Israelites whenever they were "unclean". NOTE::: Please see Hatikva Ministries web site for the LATEST information on this subject. Thank you.

Red Heifer



Red Heifer: The Bible
Red Heifer: The Details
Red Heifer: The Rancher
Red Heifer: Israel Today
Hatikva Ministries: The Story


Red Heifer: The Bible

The red heifer provided a means for the congregation of Israel to purify themselves for presentation to God. It is this strong connection which drives the Ultra Orthodox Jews of today to prepare and purify themselves for the coming priesthood and temple services.

The red heifer must meet certain physical criteria and must be sacrificed in a certain way. Once sacrificed, the ashes are to be mixed with "clean" water and it is this mixture which is sprinkled over the "unclean". Numbers 19 is the basis for understanding and the direction from God for the physical purification. The following bible reference is taken from the King James Version.

Numbers 19

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

2 This [is] the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein [is] no blemish, [and] upon which never came yoke:

3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and [one] shall slay her before his face:

4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:

5 And [one] shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:

6 And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast [it] into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.

8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

9 And a man [that is] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay [them] up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it [is] a purification for sin.

10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.

12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.

13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness [is] yet upon him.

14 This [is] the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that [is] in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.

15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, [is] unclean..

16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

17 And for an unclean [person] they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:

18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip [it] in the water, and sprinkle [it] upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

19 And the clean [person] shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he [is] unclean.

21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.

22 And whatsoever the unclean [person] toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth [it] shall be unclean until even.

Christians should understand the above scriptures represented a "type" of Christ. For the sacrifice of the "red heifer" was the forerunner to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ which could do so much more than "purify the flesh". Remember that the red heifer was to be "without spot" (Num 19:2). Compare this with the following passage written by Paul in the book of Hebrews; he explains it well:

Hebrews 9

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?


Red Heifer: The Details

According to the Bible:

    A. The red heifer (Num 19:2):

    • Must be without blemish
    • Must be without defect
    • Must never have worn a yoke

    B. The sacrifice (Num 19:3-7):

    • Must be performed outside the camp
    • The blood must be sprinkled seven times in front of the tabernacle
    • The ENTIRE heifer must be burned before the priest
    • Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet are added to the fire
    • The priest washes his clothes and bathes

    C. The Water of Purification (Num 19:9):

    • Prepared by a man who is clean
    • He gathers the ashes
    • (Implied) He adds water to the ashes (19:17)
    • He stores it outside the camp in a clean place
    • The water is for the congregation of Israel
    • He washes his clothes and bathes

It is this water, The Water of Purification, which is required by the Israelites today. It is needed to "purify" today's Levitical priesthood and to "purify" the temple mount in preparation for the Third Temple.


Red Heifer: The Rancher

In the early 1990's, a cattle rancher ran across the scriptures describing the red heifer. As he pondered what he had just read, he realized that he indeed had that kind of heifer.

Coming into contact with a group from Israel, he began communicating and eventually worked a deal to provide them with the biblically defined red heifer.

The original agreement was to provide 200 pregnant red heifers, which would be shipped via ocean lined to Jerusalem. Statistically, these pregnant heifers would produce 100 bulls and 100 heifers. The resultant 100 heifers would become the "potential" sacrificial stock.

Time went by, and this event did not occur. The interest and motivation had by no means disappeared but are fervently still there. The plan had now reached a much grander scale. The goal now is to repopulate the nation of Israel with this man's breed of cattle stock. So instead of 200 heifers, they are planning to ship thousands of heifers to Jerusalem.

As you read this, the heifers are grazing in the plains of Nebraska. I have been told that they are very gentle and a very good breeding stock. They have never been haltered, worn a blanket and are visually spotless and free from defect. A rabbi from Israel will be examining them this spring (1997).

The rancher is Clyde Lott. He has said that they are looking for "prayerful minded people" to help out with their efforts. He also said that they are "set on go" and ready for the process of shipment and repopulating to begin.

Most of this information has been obtained from a tape interview of Clyde Lott by Hatikva Ministries and from telephone conversations with him.


Red Heifer: Israel Today

There is quite a bit of excitement in the air regarding the recent birth of a red heifer in Israel. This news has rocked the world in a way that it doesn't fully realize .... yet.

Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, March 18, 1997

HOLY COW!

The birth of a red heifer (cow) in a farm in the religious youth village of Kfar Hasidim (near Haifa) has excited sectors in the religious community. A delegation of some 25 experts, including Rabbis Yisrael Ariel and Yoseph Elboim, visited the farm last week to examine the six-month old cow, and concluded that it is in fact an acceptable red heifer, according to Torah requirements. However, the cow must be at least two years old before it can be used. Until then, the cow will be carefully watched to ensure that nothing occurs to invalidate its status. According to Biblical law, the cow's ashes are used for purification from certain forms of impurity, and is therefore a prerequisite for the renewal of Holy Temple service.

THE MID-EAST DISPATCH, DAILY NEWS FROM ISRAEL - ISSUE 237 - 16th March 1997

RED HEIFER SIGNALS THIRD TEMPLE

The birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

A team of rabbinical experts last week confirmed that the animal, born six months ago on a religious kibbutz near the north Israeli port of Haifa, meets the correct Biblical criteria for a genuine holy cow. According to the Book of Numbers (XIX: 2-7), the animal is needed for an ancient Jewish purification ritual.

"Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke," says the fourth book of the Old Testament, also part of Jewish holy scripture, the Torah.

The heifer will be slaughtered and burned, and its ashes made into a liquid paste and used in a ceremony which religious Jews believe they must undergo before they can enter the old Temple site in Jerusalem to start building a new structure.

Since Herod's Temple was destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus in AD 70, no flawless red heifer has been born within the biblical land of Israel, according to rabbinical teaching.

The birth of the animal, to a black-and-white mother and a dun-colored bull, is being hailed as a "miracle" by activists who want to rebuild the Third Temple and prepare the way for the Jewish messiah's entry to Jerusalem.

The faithful will need to wait until the heifer is at least three before it can be used in a ritual sacrifice. That would enable religious Jews to start the new millennium (a Christian event, but still regarded as portentous) in a state of purity.

News of the red heifer's appearance, however, will not be well received by Muslims. The site of the old Jewish temples in the Holy City is now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines, the Dome of the Rock. Jewish extremists want to destroy the Dome and the adjoining Al-Aqsa mosque to make way for a new temple. In 1985 a group of Jewish terrorists were jailed in Israel for planning to destroy the Dome with high explosives.

But Jewish activists say they regard it as their divine mission to build a new Temple. "We have been waiting 2,000 years for a sign from God, and now he has provided us with a red heifer," said Yehudah Etzion, the ringleader of the Eighties' plot to blow up the Dome, who was present at last week's inspection of the red heifer at Kfar Hassidim. "There were a couple of little white hairs which worried us, but the rabbis are satisfied that it is the red heifer referred to in the Bible," said Mr Etzion. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London) 3/1

Boston Globe 04/06/97 (p A1)
By Ethan Bronner, Globe Staff

In photo: Rabbi Shmaria Shore examines a red heifer seen by some as a sign for Jews to rebuild the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. (Globe Photo/Heidi Levine)KFAR HASIDIM, Israel - She stares out at the world through dewy eyes, stumbling on awkward legs, dipping into her trough with abandon, oblivious to the soaring hopes and apocalyptic fears that have spread with the news of her birth.

Watched over by an armed guard in a skullcap and visited by rabbis and other seekers of meaning, this rust-colored six-month-old heifer is hailed as a sign of the coming of the Messiah and decried as a walking atom bomb.

Of a variety believed extinct for centuries, the red heifer is seen by some as the missing link needed for religious Jews to rebuild their ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Sacrificing the animal in its third year and using its ashes in a purification rite would allow Jews to return 2000 years later to the Temple site, a spot holy to both Jews and Muslims.

With tensions already high over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to build a Jewish neighborhood in the section of Jerusalem Palestinians consider theirs, many fear that the calf's arrival could create an explosive situation.

``That cow represents the risk of a massive religious war,'' said Avraham Poraz, a member of Parliament from the leftist Meretz Party. ``If the fanatics get a hold of it and try to take over the Temple Mount, God knows what will happen. It only takes a few crazies to endanger all our lives.''

In terms of historic gravity, some have drawn a loose analogy with Dolly, the cloned Scottish sheep. But if Dolly stands on the frontier of science, the calf of Kfar Hasidim harks back to the most ancient tribal ritual.

Born to a black-and-white mother and brown father on a northern Israeli farm run by a religious high school for troubled and orphaned students, the calf was brought to the attention of Rabbi Shmaria Shore shortly after its birth.

Shore, a native of Providence, said he had his doubts and, after checking with ancient texts, invited a number of rabbis from Jerusalem to come to give their views. They did so several weeks ago and quickly spread word that something truly miraculous seems to have occurred.

To understand the significance of the heifer requires a knowledge of long-abandoned practices in the extinct Temple as well as a grasp of the place the Temple holds in the collective unconscious of religious Jews.

For strictly Orthodox Jews, the Temple stands for the Jewish people's direct link to God, its place as His chosen people. Built by King Solomon around 950 BC and destroyed and rebuilt and expanded over the succeeding centuries until its final destruction by the Romans in AD 70, the Temple was the center of Jewish life where daily animal sacrifices were overseen by the priestly classes of Levites and Cohens.

The Temple's destruction meant that Jewish religious life had to be re-created. Prayer, Torah study and good works became substitutes for animal sacrifice as a means of seeking favor and forgiveness from God, a development that many modern Jewish thinkers have welcomed. But a yearning for the days of the Temple has never entirely died.

One byproduct of Israel's victory in the 1967 war that brought the Old City of Jerusalem under Israeli control is the revival of interest among a small number of Jews in rebuilding the Temple because of the link they believe it offers to God and the cosmic centrality it might signify for Jews everywhere.

This has caused concern not only because few Jews wish to return to animal sacrifices and priestly classes but because the site of the Temple has been occupied for the past 1,300 years by the third-holiest shrine in Islam, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

Holy to Muslims and Jews

Those mosques were built when Islam spread through the region in the 7th century. Most scholars say the mount was chosen for their location precisely because of the belief that it was a holy place. The Prophet Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven from there.

A few Jewish fanatics have been caught trying to blow up the mosques to make room for a new Temple that would anchor a renewed Jewish kingdom and trigger the arrival of the Messiah. Most everyone else believes such a move would launch a war with the world's 1 billion Muslims.

The fear of such an act is nonetheless keen. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recently showed a meeting of the Islamic Conference Organization in Pakistan a photo montage sold by Temple advocates that depicts the mount with the ancient Temple in the place of the two mosques.

Arafat indicated that the current battle over a Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem is but the first step on a path leading to the new Temple. Last September, when Israel opened a new exit to an archeological tunnel near the mount, Muslims rioted, saying the Jews were seeking to bring down the mosques.

The vast majority of Jews fiercely reject dreams of returning to the mount, content to have the one remnant of the Temple, the Western Wall, as a symbolic link to a bygone era and leave it at that. And they have been generally unworried about the zeal of a handful of Temple faithful for two reasons.

First, to avoid friction with Muslims, the Israeli government forbids Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. And second, the rabbis have ruled that religious Jews may not even walk on most of the mount for fear that, in their impure state, they will pollute the holiest of earthly places.

But that is where the new heifer comes in.

In the days of the Temple, all who entered it had to be made spiritually clean by being sprinkled with a substance whose main ingredient came from the ashes of a red heifer burned in its third year.

A rare breed

The sages described the heifer as a rare breed. Only nine were recorded in religious texts to have existed and the strain has long been assumed extinct, thus making it impossible to contemplate a return to Temple ritual.

Orthodox Jews still pray three times a day for the rebuilding of the Temple. But, Jewish scholars say, most have not taken the prayer literally.

``It has always been a kind of nostalgia,'' remarked Daniel Sperber, an Orthodox Jew and professor of Talmud at Bar Ilan University, outside Tel Aviv. ``Most people relate the rebuilding of the Temple with the coming of the Messiah. Until he turns up, we don't have to worry much about it.''

But most religious Jews consider the mount to be an exceptionally holy, if temporarily occupied, spot. They will not speculate on when the Temple will replace the mosques but many believe that, one day, it will.

The creation of Israel and the recapture of Jerusalem have reawakened a belief among the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox community that something divinely inspired is unfolding here. The red heifer is simply the next sign.

A dozen rabbis have examined the calf and said she is the long-awaited ritual heifer, meeting, so far, all the criteria described by the ancients. If the calf lives unblemished for another 18 months, she can theoretically be put to use.

``It is written that it is the 10th heifer that the Messiah will discover and here we have the 10th heifer. This is a clear sign that the Messiah is near,'' said Rabbi Ido Weber Erlich of Jerusalem in an interview on Israel Radio.

For the workers at The Temple Institute, on a cobblestone alley inside the rebuilt Jewish quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, the arrival of the heifer is an inspiration.

The institute recreates the implements of the Temple, from the pale flaxen robes worn by the priests to the golden incense jars and lyres used at prayers. There is already a portrait of the new heifer on the institute wall.

``For us, the heifer is a milestone,'' said Rabbi Menachem Makover, deputy director of the institute. ``During the diaspora, everything was missing. No one knew about the crown worn by the high priest, for example. Now we see that everything that was gone is slowly coming back.

``We used to say, `We don't have this,' or `We don't have that,' but that is no longer an excuse. We still have political problems with the Arabs. But from above someone is leading us to these tools. We didn't ask for the red heifer. Suddenly it came.''

This is the kind of talk that makes Arabs and many Israelis nervous.

David Landau, a journalist with the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz, and himself an Orthodox Jew, wrote an opinion piece recently titled, ``The Red Heifer: It's No Joke.'' in which he called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security services to take this problem in hand now.

Landau says that while a bullet to the head of the calf might be the ticket, less radical action might also be considered since any blemish or irregularity to the calf would ruin it for liturgical purposes.

Rabbi Shore, who presides over the religious school here, says the only execution carried out by Israel was that of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann 35 years ago and if the state were to do the same to the red heifer, ``I don't know whether I'd laugh or cry.''

Some rabbis are urging that the calf be used to breed a herd of red heifers so that such an attack not end what has begun.

Shore says the heifer's arrival poses other, still-unsolved problems, such as finding a ritually pure member of the priestly Cohen class to slaughter it. But many difficulties in the renewal of Jewish life in Israel have already been solved, he said, and this, too, might have a solution.

``Some people say, `Blow up the mosques,' but I don't see it that way,'' he said. ``The Temple is at the core of the spiritual life of the Jews, and it must come when the Jews are truly ready for it. Of course, rebuilding the Temple may come as something violent and hostile.

``The Temple Mount is the source of blessing for the entire world. It is not just a piece of real estate. So this opportunity we have must not be wasted.''


Hatikva Ministries:

The Story Several weeks(?) ago I received a newsletter from Israel all concerning the preparations and building of the Third Temple. In this newsletter was one sentence that said that Rabbi Ariel of the Temple Institute announced that a practice altar had been built and that a red heifer had been born. I checked several other sources quickly, but to no avail. There was nothing to be found for a couple of weeks. Then, one of the news services I receive from Israel came out with the news, about a paragraph in length. It was followed in the next two or three days with essentially the same information. The news services confirmed that Rabbi Ariel was in attendance for inspection and qualification of the red cow born at a kibbutz around Haifa named Kfar Hassidim. In fact, Rabbi Ariel was one of two rabbis who confirmed that this red heifer met all the restrictions to qualify as the 'parah adumah'. The article went on to say that one of the parents of the cow was black and white spot, the other parent was dun colored. No one expected a red cow from these parents. The birth, therefore, is regarded as miraculous. There were two white hairs on the cow that worried the rabbis at first, but did not disqualify the animal. The article further announced that the cow was about 6 months old.

We had always suspected that the rabbis were looking into alternatives to Clyde Lott's cows. After all, they don't owe us any information, and any we have received from them has been quite welcome. We have always regarded Clyde very highly, but it is clear that this red heifer is not of his herd, which has yet to take place as far as we know.

By this time, there are several news groups who have shared the news of the cow's birth, even news groups from Israel. There has been a great amount of interest and excitement generated in the past few weeks concerning this news.

My husband, Joseph Good, is in Israel even as I write this message. A couple of days ago he and the group he was with were able to see this cow. What follows is part of a letter I sent to one of our staff (and a copy to several friends). It is the account, as well as I could remember, of Joseph told me over the phone several hours after he had seen the red heifer.

Since talking with Joseph again, he said that the heifer is in isolation. In addition, he said her horns were small, as she is not full-grown, but they are pointed on the ends, indicating that they are not just nubs.

Hope this information is what you had hoped for. Keep in touch if I can be of further service.

Debbie Good

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a letter from Debbie Good. To reach her please contact Hatikva Ministries. Thank you.