To ready for the final redemption, Israelis take red heifers by the horns

heifer-1-1-965x543The Temple Institute wants to raise $125,000 to breed the holy cows used in an ancient — and future, it hopes — purification rite

One of the Red Angus bulls born at the Temple Institute‘s farm, at an undisclosed location in Israel. (courtesy Temple Institute)

BY MELANIE LIDMAN

White button-down shirts aren’t something that you normally see at Israeli dairy and beef farms. But for the past few years, a number of rabbis have rolled up their tzitzit and stepped into rubber boots in a quest to create the ideal farm for a small herd of holy red heifers, called in Hebrew parah adumah.

Red heifers were slaughtered as sacrifices in the Temple and the ashes were used in purification rituals, especially for people who had become impure through contact with dead bodies.
The Temple Institute is a 28-year-old organization that has built more than 70 artifacts that can be used when a Third Temple is built. Its latest project is to import frozen embryos from Red Angus cattle in the United States to create a herd of kosher red heifers in Israel.

“People have this understanding that the red heifer is something otherworldly or it is really rare,” explained Rabbi Chaim Richman, the international director and co-founder of the Temple Institute. “But really there are hundreds or even thousands of red-colored cattle of different species that would qualify.”

What has made a modern-day red heifer an impossibility thus far lies in this description in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 19: “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.”

Read Entire Story in Times in Israel

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