Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Halocho #79 - What color is a Red Heifer?

This Shabbos a second Sefer Torah is taken out for Maftir and the laws of Para Aduma – the Red Heifer – are read. (The beginning of Parshas Chukas, Numbers 19:1-22) There are opinions that there’s a Torah obligation to hear it being read, and people who don’t have access to a Minyan should find one this week. A kosher Para Aduma is a (female) cow past its second birthday that is completely ginger-brown. Even two white or black hairs near each other would invalidate it. The non-brown part of its horns and hooves need to be filed down. Its eyes, teeth and tongue do not need to be brown. Using the cow for any work – even to carry something – would invalidate it. Birds and insects that land on its back do not invalidate it. The cow is slaughtered and burnt and the ashes mixed with spring water and sprinkled on people who come in contact with a corpse, on the third and seventh day of their purification process. This was a prerequisite for access to the Bet Hamikdash (Temple). Since there’s a Mitzva to go into the Bet Hamikdash on Pessach, we read this in anticipating of being able to implement it this year, or at least Bimhera Beyomainu – soon in our lifetime. Source: Kitzur Shulcan Aruch 140:2-3, Mishna Masechet Para, Ch. 1, Rambam Hil. Para Ch. 1

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1 comment:

  1. Somebody asked:

    Are the women also obliged to hear the reading of Parachas Para Haduma ?
    Thank you for your letter each day and a big Mazal Tov For all the Simhos in the Family.

    I responded

    Somebody wrote to me that:
    According to all opinions, women are not obligated in this mitzvah.
    Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 685:7, Moadim U'zmanim 2:168

    But I didn't look it up. Since women don't go to war and didn't have to bring Korban Pessach I would assume they are not included on Zachor and Poro.

    But I don't have enough time to finish researching this.


    - Danny