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Red Heifer

פרה אדומה

Preparing the Red Heifer in Purity: The Rabbis’ Polemic against the Sadducees

Several stories describe how the rabbis of the Second Temple period would force priests to prepare the ashes in the lower state of purity, tevul yom (immersed in water before sunset), and once even discarded ashes prepared in the stringent state of purity, meʿorav shemesh (after sunset), to demonstrate the law is not in accordance with the Sadducees. The Qumran halakhic text, 4QMMT, gives us the perspective of the other side of the debate.

Prof.

Vered Noam

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The Ritual Violation that Bars Moses and Aaron from Entering the Land

Hint: The story follows the red heifer ritual, i.e., the laws of corpse contamination, and the death of their sister Miriam.

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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Red Heifer: A Soap Ritual

After contact with a corpse, a person must be sprinkled with a liquid mixture containing the ashes of a red heifer, together with cedar and ezov, alkaline plants that, when burnt, function as the key ingredients in a detergent.

Dr.

Joseph Weinstein

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The Rites of the Red Heifer

Prof. Rabbi

Michael Chernick

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Is It Possible to Make Sense of a Biblical Ritual (Chok)?

Prof.

Edward L. Greenstein

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Meeting the Challenge of Critical Scholarship with Leviticus

Dr. Rabbi

Irving (Yitz) Greenberg

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The Red Heifer in Synagogue: Purifying Israel from Sin

Ezekiel 36 uses Priestly “purification” imagery similar to that of the red heifer ritual to describe God’s future reconciliation with Israel, inspiring the rabbis to choose this passage as the haftara for Parashat Parah.

Dr.

Ethan Schwartz

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