||An explanation of the possibility of bringing the parah adumah (red heifier) in our times by R. Samuel David ben Abraham Eliezer ha-Levi Lewin. The title page states the purpose of the book is to address this question and adds, in order to enter into the holy, that is, the Bet ha-Mikdash (Temple). It identifies R. Lewin as the author of le-Shad ha-Shemen and le-Kedushat ha-Mikdash and that hs is from מזבזיע in the vicinity of Volohzin. The verso of the title page has publication data in Polish. There is an introduction from the author, who begins y noting that the place of our desires is the Bet ha-Mikdash, not only because of the korbanot which can not be brought at this time, but also because it is the place moist receptive to prayer, the location in which God appeared to the patriarch Jacob in a dream, “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven” (Genesis 28:12), indicative that this is the place most receptive to prayer. We are unable to enter there, however, and the Western Wall is not equivalent to the Bet ha-Mikdash itself. as the This introduction is followed by a second introduction from R. Lewin. There are several pages of approbations with notes from the author, and then the text, which deals with the issue of the parah adumah, a necessary condition for entering the Bet ha-Mikdash.
The parah adumah was the animal whose ashes were used in the ritual purification of persons and objects defiled by a corpse (Num. 19). While the English term heifer means a young cow that has not had a calf, the Bible (Num. 19:2) speaks simply of a cow (Heb. parah). The Bible prescribes that the red cow be without blemish (Heb. temimah), that it should have no defect (Heb. mum), and that it should never have been yoked (Num. 19:2). The first of these requirements applies also to burnt offerings (Lev. 1:3, 10), peace offerings (Lev. 3:1, 6), and sin offerings (Lev. 4:3). The second regulation, which applies to all sacrifices (Lev. 22:19, 21; Deut. 17:1), is explained in Leviticus 22:22. The third stipulation applies also to the calf whose neck is broken to atone for the bloodguilt of the unidentified manslayer (Deut. 21:3).
The entire tractate Parah is devoted to the laws of the red heifer. The accepted opinion in talmudic law is that a cow which has been mounted by a bull may not be used for the ritual (Par. 2:4). The Mishnah specifies that the cow be at least three or four years old; younger than three is termed "calf" (Heb. eglah) rather than "cow" (Par. 1:1). Furthermore, R. Meir asserts that theoretically the animal may be aged. In practice, he explains, a younger one is more likely to fulfill the other biblical specifications (Par. 1:1). Since the red heifer is called a sin offering (Hattat; Num. 19:9), the rabbis applied to it the laws appertaining to this offering. The mixture of the heifer's ashes with water is called consecrated water. Some of the rites connected with the red heifer were instituted by the Pharisees in order to refute the view of the Sadducees. The Sadducees claimed that only those who were in a state of complete ritual purity were entitled to burn the heifer. According to the Pharisees, however, even a tevul yom (an unclean person who has already undergone ritual immersion but still has to wait until sunset to be declared clean; see Tevul Yom) is qualified to burn it. As a result, the priest who was assigned to burn the heifer was deliberately rendered unclean and afterward immersed himself (Par. 3:7–8). This procedure was not carried out without opposition. One tradition tells about a Sadducean high priest who attempted to burn the red heifer according to the ritual of his faction and was prevented by Johanan b. Zakkai, who told him to immerse himself. The priest answered rudely, and the story continues that as a punishment the Sadducee died three days later (Tosef., Par. 3:8). In reference to another law, R. Yose recommended being less strict, saying, "Do not give the Sadducees an opportunity to cavil at us" (Par. 3:3; cf. Tosef., Par. 3:3). According to the Mishnah, only the high priests could be qualified (Par. 4:1; cf. Yoma 42b). Some talmudic authorities (Yoma 42b; Sif. Num. 123) insist that the assistant to the high priest be in charge; others suggest that it may be any priest.
According to R. Meir in all of Jewish history only seven heifers were burned, but according to the rabbis there were nine (Par. 3:5), and the tenth and last will be prepared by the Messiah (Yad, Parah Adummah 3:4). If two hairs of the animal were not red, it was invalid. As a result, the red heifer was rare and costly, and several stories are told in the Talmud about the exorbitant price demanded for it (TJ, Pe'ah 1:1, 15c; Kid. 31a). Although it was impossible to prepare the ashes of the red heifer after the destruction of the Temple, its use did not cease with the destruction, since there was still a supply of the ashes. As late as the amoraic period, those who had become ritually unclean through contact with the dead still used to cleanse themselves with it (see Nid. 6b and Y. Gilat, Mishnato shel R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus (1968), 252). Several homiletical interpretations of the red heifer are given, one being that it was to atone for the sin of the golden calf, so that the mother, the red heifer, should purify the defilement caused by her offspring, the golden calf.