JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Hundreds of people gathered at Ben Gurion airport to witness an amazing and rare sight: Five kosher red heifers (Parah Aduma) which can be used for the purification of the dead.
For nearly 2000 years there has been no possibility for Jews to purify themselves are coming into contact with the dead, but the heifers, which have been checked and authorized by a number of rabbis, could enable this mitzvah to be fulfilled in the near future. According to the Rambam, the red heifer rites will be renewed at the time when Moshiach is near.
The red heifers were donated by Mr. Byron, a Texas rancher who is a member of the Christian evangelist community. Byron brought the heifers himself on the plane trip from the US in conjunction with the Bonei Yisrael group. Rabbis who saw them cried with joy to behold for the first time such a remarkable phenomenon.
Halacha requires the red heifer to be unblemished and to be totally red, with no black or white hairs. Additionally no yoke can be placed on the heifers. The five red heifers which were brought to Israel fulfill these conditions. They have been quarantined and will then be taken to a farm in the Bet Shean region. Farmers will attempt to maintain the unique breed of heifers and expand it so that children studying the laws of red heifer will be able to visit and see the rare animals.
The Bonei Yisrael group acknowledged the difficulties in transferring the heifers to Israel, since the Agriculture Ministry is very concerned of animal disease but said that the heifers had been tested numerous times in the past year. The group, which is associated with the Temple Institute, said that they see this as “another step” towards the reconstruction of the Temple. “We are at the educational stage, where we are trying to teach and bring alive the Tanach (Bible)”, they said.
Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, a prominent Israeli posek and Rabbi of the Gush Etzion regional council, was brought to investigate the halachic aspects. Rabbi Rimon said that “I helped to check the heifers and see if they are kosher. The heifers that arrived here are kosher.
“It is a complex procedure, to check that there are no white hairs, no blemishes. There are all kinds of aspects that need to be verified to ascertain that they are really red. There is a halachic discussion what is red and what isn’t. Moreover it must be known that the heifers haven’t worked, haven’t had a yoke on them. These heifers maintain these conditions.”
Asked how he felt when checking them, Rabbi Rimon replied: “It is very gladdening that we have heifers ready for the building of the Beis HaMikdash G-d willing and in the meantime in order to learn from them. The building of the Beis Hamikdash is coming nearer and we need to know, prepare and understand and this is one of the aspects.”