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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Parah Adumah - Chapter 2, Parah Adumah - Chapter 3, Parah Adumah - Chapter 4

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Parah Adumah - Chapter 2

1

Extra stringencies were employed with regard to the purity observed in preparation for offering the red heifer and great extremes were taken to keep a distance from the ritual impurity associated with a human corpse in all the activities associated with its offering. The rationale is that since it is acceptable for a person who immersed that day to bring it, our Sages were concerned that people would treat this offering with disdain.

For this reason, when the priest who burns it is isolated, he is isolated to a prepared chamber in the Temple Courtyard. It was called the House of Stone, because all of the utensils in it were stone utensils that do not contract impurity. He would use the stone utensils throughout the seven days that he is isolated. His priestly brethren would not touch him in order to increase his purity.

א

מַעֲלוֹת יְתֵרוֹת עָשׂוּ בְּטָהֳרַת פָּרָה אֲדֻמָּה וְהַרְחָקוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת הִרְחִיקוּ מִטֻּמְאַת הַמֵּת בְּכָל מַעֲשֶׂיהָ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה בִּטְבוּלֵי יוֹם חָשׁוּ שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹאוּ לְזַלְזֵל בָּהּ. וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה כְּשֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף אוֹתָהּ מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתוֹ לְלִשְׁכָּה מוּכֶנֶת בָּעֲזָרָה. וּבֵית אֶבֶן הָיְתָה נִקְרֵאת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכָּל כֵּלֶיהָ כְּלֵי אֲבָנִים שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה. וּבִכְלֵי הָאֶבֶן הָיָה מִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ כָּל שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַהַפְרָשָׁה. וְלֹא הָיוּ נוֹגְעִין בּוֹ אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים כְּדֵי לְהַרְבּוֹת בְּטָהֳרָתוֹ:

2

For seven days before the burning of the red heifer, the priest who would burn it is isolated from his home, just like the High Priest is isolated for the sake of the service of Yom Kippur. This was received as part of the Oral Tradition from Moses. Similarly, he is isolated from his wife, lest it be discovered that she was a nidah and he be impure for seven days.

ב

שִׁבְעַת יָמִים קדֶם שְׂרֵפַת הַפָּרָה מַפְרִישִׁין כֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף אוֹתָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לַעֲבוֹדַת יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים. וְדָבָר זֶה קַבָּלָה מִמּשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ. וְכֵן מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתוֹ מֵאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁמָּא תִּמָּצֵא נִדָּה וְיִהְיֶה טָמֵא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים:

3

The chamber in which this priest would abide for all these seven days was in the northeast portion of the Temple Courtyard. It was positioned there to remind the priest that the red heifer is like a sin-offering that is slaughtered in the northern portion of the Temple Courtyard, even though the red heifer is slaughtered outside the Temple.

ג

הַלִּשְׁכָּה שֶׁהָיָה יוֹשֵׁב בָּהּ כָּל שִׁבְעָה צְפוֹנִית מִזְרָחִית הָיְתָה. כְּדֵי לְהַזְכִּירוֹ שֶׁהִיא כְּחַטָּאת הַנִּשְׁחֶטֶת בַּצָּפוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נִשְׁחֶטֶת בַּחוּץ:

4

On every one of the seven days of his isolation, water with the ashes of the red heifer should be sprinkled upon him lest he unknowingly have contracted impurity due to contact with a corpse with the exception of the fourth day of his isolation. That day does not require sprinkling. The rationale is that it is impossible for it to be the third day of his impurity or the seventh day of his impurity. For the sprinkling of the ashes on the seventh day is not considered as the sprinkling of the seventh day unless the ashes were sprinkled on the third day before it. According to law, there is no need to sprinkle the ashes upon him on any days other than the third and the seventh days of isolation. The sprinkling day after day is an extra stringency enacted with regard to the red heifer.

ד

כָּל יוֹם וְיוֹם מִשִּׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַהַפְרָשָׁה מַזִּין עָלָיו מֵי חַטָּאת. שֶׁמָּא נִטְמָא לְמֵת וְהוּא לֹא יָדַע. חוּץ מִיּוֹם רְבִיעִי לְהַפְרָשָׁה שֶׁאֵין צָרִיךְ הַזָּאָה לְפִי שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה לֹא שְׁלִישִׁי לְטֻמְאָתוֹ וְלֹא שְׁבִיעִי. שֶׁאֵין הַזָּאָה בַּשְּׁבִיעִי עוֹלָה מִשּׁוּם הַזָּאַת שְׁבִיעִי עַד שֶׁיַּזֶּה בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי מִלְּפָנֶיהָ. וּמִן הַדִּין הָיָה שֶׁאֵין צָרִיךְ הַזָּאָה אֶלָּא בִּשְׁלִישִׁי וּשְׁבִיעִי לְהַפְרָשָׁה בִּלְבַד וְזֶה שֶׁמַּזִּין יוֹם אַחַר יוֹם מַעֲלָה יְתֵרָה עָשׂוּ בְּפָרָה:

5

He would be isolated on Wednesday, so that the fourth day of his isolation would fall on the Sabbath, for the sprinkling of the ashes of the red heifer does not supersede the Sabbath prohibitions, and the fourth day does not require the sprinkling of the ashes.

ה

בִּרְבִיעִי בְּשַׁבָּת הָיוּ מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּחוּל רְבִיעִי שֶׁלּוֹ לִהְיוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת. שֶׁהַהַזָּיָה אֵינָהּ דּוֹחָה שַׁבָּת וְהָרְבִיעִי אֵין צָרִיךְ הַזָּיָה:

6

On all the days of his isolation when the ashes of the red heifer are sprinkled upon him, the ashes of all the red heifers that were burnt previously were sprinkled on him. If, however, there were only ashes from one red heifer, those ashes are used for all six days.

ו

בְּכָל יוֹם וְיוֹם מִימֵי הַהַפְרָשָׁה שֶׁמַּזִּין עָלָיו בָּהֶם. מַזִּין מֵאֵפֶר פָּרָה מִן הַפָּרוֹת שֶׁנִּשְׂרְפוּ כְּבָר. וְאִם לֹא הָיָה שָׁם אֶלָּא אֵפֶר פָּרָה אַחַת בִּלְבַד מַזִּין מִמֶּנּוּ עָלָיו כָּל הַשִּׁשָּׁה:

7

When the ashes of the red heifer are sprinkled upon him during the days of his isolation, the sprinkling should be performed by a man who never contracted the ritual impurity stemming from a human corpse. The rationale is that the person sprinkling the ashes must be pure. If one would say: "Let so-and-so, a person who had contracted impurity, but then had the ashes of the red heifer sprinkled upon him, sprinkle the ashes on the priest who will burn the red heifer," that suggestion is not followed. The rationale is that it is possible that the person who sprinkled the ashes upon so-and-so was not pure from the impurity associated with a corpse. Similarly, the utensils that are used to be filled and consecrated to sprinkle on the priest who burns the red heifer were all stone utensils that are not susceptible to ritual impurity. All of these practices are extra stringencies enacted with regard to the red heifer.

How is it possible to find a person who has never contracted the impurity associated with a human corpse? There were courtyards in Jerusalem built on slabs of stone and the space under them was hollow lest there be a grave in the depths of the earth. Pregnant women were brought there; they would give birth there, and raise their sons there. When they wanted to sprinkle ashes on the priest who would burn the red heifer, they would bring oxen - because they have ample bellies - and place doors on their backs and have the children sit on the boards so that there would be an ohel intervening between them and the earth lest they contract impurity from a grave in the depths of the earth. They would have cups of stone in their hands and would go to the Shiloach spring. When they reached the Shiloach, the children would descend and fill the cups. We do not suspect that they will contract impurity from a grave in the depths of the earth at the spring, because it is not ordinary practice to bury the dead in streams.

They would ascend and sit on the doors and proceed upward until they reach the Temple Mount. When they reached the Temple Mount, they would descend and proceed on their feet, because the entire area of the Temple Mount and its courtyards was built over a hollow cavity, lest there be a grave in the depths of the earth.

They would proceed to the entrance to the Temple Courtyard. At the entrance to the Temple Courtyard, there was a pitcher of ashes. They would take the ashes and place them on the water in the cups and sprinkle them on the priest who burns the heifer.

The children who would fill the water, would consecrate it with the ashes and sprinkle it on the priest who burns the heifer must immerse in a mikveh. Even though they are pure with regard to the impurity associated with a human corpse, it is possible that they contracted other forms of impurity.

ז

כְּשֶׁמַּזִּין עָלָיו בִּימֵי הַהַפְרָשָׁה אֵין מַזֶּה עָלָיו אֶלָּא אָדָם שֶׁלֹּא נִטְמָא בְּמֵת מֵעוֹלָם שֶׁהַמַּזֶה צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה טָהוֹר. וְאִם תֹּאמַר יַזֶּה עָלָיו אִישׁ שֶׁנִּטְמָא וְהֻזָּה עָלָיו. שֶׁמָּא זֶה שֶׁהִזָּה עָלָיו לֹא הָיָה טָהוֹר מִטֻּמְאַת מֵת. וְכֵן הַכֵּלִים שֶׁמְּמַלְּאִין בָּהֶן וּמְקַדְּשִׁין לְהַזּוֹת עַל הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף כֻּלָּם כְּלֵי אֲבָנִים הָיוּ שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה. וְכָל אֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים מַעֲלוֹת יְתֵרוֹת הֵן שֶׁעָשׂוּ בָּהּ. וְכֵיצַד יִמָּצֵא אִישׁ שֶׁלֹּא נִטְמָא בְּמֵת מֵעוֹלָם. חֲצֵרוֹת הָיוּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם בְּנוּיוֹת עַל גַּבֵּי הַסֶּלַע וְתַחְתֵּיהֶן חָלוּל מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וּמְבִיאִין הָיוּ נָשִׁים עֻבָּרוֹת וְיוֹלְדוֹת שָׁם וּמְגַדְּלוֹת שָׁם אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם. וּכְשֶׁיִּרְצוּ לְהַזּוֹת עַל הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף מְבִיאִין שְׁוָרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּרֵסֵיהֶן נְפוּחוֹת וּמַנִּיחִים עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן דְּלָתוֹת וְיוֹשְׁבִין הַתִּינוֹקוֹת עַל גַּבֵּי הַדְּלָתוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הָאֹהֶל מַבְדִּיל בֵּינָם לְבֵין הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וְכוֹסוֹת שֶׁל אֶבֶן בְּיָדָם וְהוֹלְכִין לַשִּׁילוֹחַ. הִגִּיעוּ לַשִּׁילוֹחַ יוֹרְדִין שָׁם וּמְמַלְּאִין שֶׁאֵין לָחוּשׁ שָׁם מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם שֶׁאֵין דֶּרֶךְ בְּנֵי אָדָם לִקְבֹּר בַּנְּהָרוֹת. וְעוֹלִין וְיוֹשְׁבִין עַל גַּבֵּי הַדְּלָתוֹת וְהוֹלְכִין עַד שֶׁמַּגִּיעִין לְהַר הַבַּיִת. הִגִּיעוּ לְהַר הַבַּיִת יוֹרְדִין וּמְהַלְּכִין עַל רַגְלֵיהֶן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכָּל הַר הַבַּיִת וְהָעֲזָרוֹת תַּחְתֵּיהֶן הָיָה חָלוּל מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וּמְהַלְּכִין עַד פֶּתַח הָעֲזָרָה. וּבְפֶתַח הָעֲזָרָה הָיָה קָלָל שֶׁל אֵפֶר נוֹטְלִין הָאֵפֶר וְנוֹתְנִין בַּמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכּוֹסוֹת וּמַזִּין עַל הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף. וּמַטְבִּילִין הָיוּ הַתִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁמְּמַלְּאִין וּמְקַדְּשִׁין וּמַזִּין עַל הַשּׂוֹרֵף אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן טְהוֹרִין מִטֻּמְאַת הַמֵּת שֶׁמָּא נִטְמְאוּ בְּטֻמְאָה אַחֶרֶת:

8

When a child immersed himself in a mikveh in order to fill pitchers with water and sprinkle it, another child should not fill those containers with water even though he immersed himself.

When a child immersed himself to sprinkle the water of the ashes on one priest, he may not sprinkle the water on another priest until he immerses again for the sake of purifying that priest. Similarly, when utensils or people were purified for the sake of offering one red heifer, they should not become involved in the offering of another red heifer until they immerse themselves for its sake. All of these are extra stringencies required for the offering of the red heifer.

ח

תִּינוֹק שֶׁטָּבַל לְמַלְּאוֹת וּלְהַזּוֹת לֹא יְמַלֵּא בְּכֵלָיו תִּינוֹק אַחֵר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁטָּבַל. וְתִינוֹק שֶׁטָּבַל לְהַזּוֹת עַל כֹּהֵן זֶה אֵינוֹ מַזֶּה עַל כֹּהֵן אַחֵר עַד שֶׁיִּטְבּל לְשֵׁם מַעֲשֶׂה זֶה הַכֹּהֵן. וְכֵן כֵּלִים שֶׁטִּהֲרוּם לְחַטָּאת זוֹ וּבְנֵי אָדָם שֶׁטִּהֲרוּם לְחַטָּאת זוֹ לֹא יִתְעַסֵּק בָּהֶם בְּפָרָה אַחֶרֶת עַד שֶׁיִּטְבְּלוּ לִשְׁמָהּ. וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ מַעֲלוֹת יְתֵרוֹת בְּפָרָה:

Parah Adumah - Chapter 3

1

The red heifer should be burnt only outside the Temple Mount, as Numbers 19:3 states: "And you shall take it outside the camp." They would burn it on the Mount of Olives. A ramp was built from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives. Below it were arches upon arches, i.e., an arch on two arches, so that there would be empty space under it, lest there be a grave in the depths of the earth. Similarly, the place where the heifer was burnt and the place of immersion on the Mount of Olives had the space under them hollowed, lest there be a grave in the depths of the earth.

The red heifer, the one who would burn it, and all those who assist in its burning go from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives on this ramp.

א

אֵין שׂוֹרְפִין אֶת הַפָּרָה אֶלָּא חוּץ לְהַר הַבַּיִת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ג) "וְהוֹצִיא אֹתָהּ" אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה. וּבְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה הָיוּ שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתָהּ. וְכֶבֶשׁ הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין מֵהַר הַבַּיִת לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה וְתַחְתָּיו בָּנוּי כִּפִּין כִּפִּין וְכִפָּה עַל כָּל שְׁנֵי כִּפִּין כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵי רַגְלֵי הַכִּפָּה עַל גַּג שְׁנֵי כִּפִּין שֶׁתַּחְתֶּיהָ. כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה תַּחַת הַכּל חָלוּל מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. אַף מְקוֹם שְׂרֵפָתָהּ וּמְקוֹם הַטְּבִילָה שֶׁהָיוּ בְּהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה תַּחְתֵּיהֶן חָלוּל מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וְהַפָּרָה וְהַשּׂוֹרֵף וְכָל הַמְסַעֲדִין בִּשְׂרֵפָתָהּ יוֹצְאִין מֵהַר הַבַּיִת לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה עַל גַּבֵּי כֶּבֶשׁ זֶה:

2

How was the red heifer burnt? The elders of Israel would walk to the Mount of Olives first. There was a mikveh there. The priest, those assisting in burning it, and the heifer would go out on the ramp and come to the Mount of Olives.

There they would make the priest impure. The elders would rest their hands on the priest and tell him: "Immerse yourself." If he was a High Priest, they would tell him: "My sir, the High Priest, immerse yourself." He would descend, immerse himself, ascend, and dry himself.

There was wood arranged there: cedar wood, oak wood, pine wood, and smooth fig wood. An arrangement like a tower was made and windows were made in the midst of it, so that the fire would flame in them. The front of the arrangement was in the west.

The heifer would be tied with a rope of love grass and it would be brought onto the arrangement with its head to the south and its face to the west. The priest would stand to the east with his head facing west. He would slaughter the heifer with his right hand and receive its blood in his left hand. With his right finger, he would sprinkle from the blood in his left palm seven times toward the Holy of Holies. He would dip his finger in the blood for every sprinkling. The remainder of the blood on his finger was disqualified for sprinkling, Therefore, after every sprinkling, he would clean his finger on the body of the heifer.

When he completed sprinkling, he would clean his hands on the body of the heifer and descend from the arrangement. He would light the fire with small kindling twigs and place them below the wood of the arrangement. The fire would begin to catch in it. The priest would stand at a distance and watch it until the fire catches in its larger portion and its belly becomes ripped open.

Afterwards, he takes a branch of a cedar tree and hyssop that is at least a handbreadth long, and wool dyed crimson weighing five selaim. He asks the people standing there: "Is this a piece of cedar?" "Is this a piece of cedar?" "Is this a piece of cedar?" "Is this hyssop?" "Is this hyssop?" "Is this hyssop?" "Is this a crimson thread?" "Is this a crimson thread?" "Is this a crimson thread?", asking each question three times. They answer: "Yes!" "Yes!" "Yes!", three times for each set of questions.

Why is all this necessary? Because there are seven species of cedar, four species of hyssop, and several options to produce red dye. Some dye with madder and some dye with lacca sap, and some dye with tola'at? Tola'at refers to very red berries that resemble carob seeds. They are like sumach berries. There is a bug, like a gnat, in every berry. Since there are different types of species for each of the entities involved, the priest notifies everyone and informs them that these are the species mentioned in the Torah.

The hyssop mentioned in the Torah is the type of hyssop eaten by home-owners and used as a condiment in certain dishes. The hyssop, cedar, and wool dyed crimson are all absolute requirements, without one of which, the others are not acceptable. The priest should bind the hyssop together with the cedar branch with the crimson thread and then throw them into the belly of the heifer, as Numbers 19:6 states: "He shall cast them into the midst of the conflagration of the heifer."

He should not cast them into the heifer until the fire has caught hold of the larger portion of it and not after it has been reduced to ashes. If he casts them at those times, it is unacceptable, as indicated by the phrase: "into the midst of the conflagration," i.e., not before the fire has caught onto its larger portion and not after it was reduced to ashes. Whether one cast all three of them together or one after the other, whether one cast them into the heifer's body or into the fire, whether its belly burst open on its own accord or the priest ripped it open by hand or with a utensil, it is acceptable.

ב

כֵּיצַד שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתָהּ. זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ מַקְדִּימִין בְּרַגְלֵיהֶן לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה וּבֵית טְבִילָה הָיָה שָׁם. וְכֹהֵן וְהַמְסַעֲדִין בִּשְׂרֵפָתָהּ וְהַפָּרָה יוֹצְאִין עַל הַכֶּבֶשׁ וּבָאִין לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה. וּמְטַמְּאִין אֶת הַכֹּהֵן וְסוֹמְכִין הַזְּקֵנִים אֶת יְדֵיהֶם עַל הַכֹּהֵן וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ טְבל אַחַת. וְאִם הָיָה כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אוֹמְרִים לוֹ אִישִׁי כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל טְבל אַחַת. יָרַד וְטָבַל וְעָלָה וְנִסְתַּפֵּג. וְעֵצִים מְסֻדָּרִים הָיוּ שָׁם אֲרָזִים אַלּוֹנִים וּבְרוֹשִׁים וַעֲצֵי תְּאֵנָה חֲלָקָה. וְעוֹשִׂין מַעֲרָכָה כְּמִין מִגְדָּל וּמְפַתְּחִין בָּהּ חַלּוֹנוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הָאוּר מְלַבֶּבֶת בָּהֶן. וּמַרְאֵה הַמַּעֲרָכָה בְּמַעֲרָב. וְכוֹפְתִין אֶת הַפָּרָה בְּחֶבֶל שֶׁל מֶגֶג וְנוֹתְנִין אוֹתָהּ עַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּעֲרָכָה רֹאשָׁהּ לְדָרוֹם וּפָנֶיהָ לְמַעֲרָב. הַכֹּהֵן עוֹמֵד בַּמִּזְרָח וּפָנָיו לַמַּעֲרָב. שׁוֹחֵט בִּימִינוֹ וּמְקַבֵּל הַדָּם בִּשְׂמֹאלוֹ. וּמַזֶּה בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ הַיְמָנִית מִן הַדָּם שֶׁבְּכַפּוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים כְּנֶגֶד בֵּית קָדְשֵׁי הַקָּדָשִׁים. עַל כָּל הַזָּאָה טְבִילַת אֶצְבַּע בְּדָם. וּשְׁיָרֵי הַדָּם שֶׁבָּאֶצְבַּע פְּסוּלִים לְהַזָּיָה לְפִיכָךְ עַל כָּל הַזָּאָה מְקַנֵּחַ אֶצְבָּעוֹ בְּגוּפָהּ שֶׁל פָּרָה. גָּמַר מִלְּהַזּוֹת מְקַנֵּחַ אֶת יָדָיו בְּגוּפָהּ שֶׁל פָּרָה וְיוֹרֵד מִן הַמַּעֲרָכָה וְהִצִּית אֶת הָאֵשׁ בְּעֵצִים קְטַנִּים וְהִכְנִיסָן תַּחַת עֲצֵי הַמַּעֲרָכָה וְהִתְחִיל הָאֵשׁ בָּהּ וְהַכֹּהֵן עוֹמֵד בְּרָחוֹק וּמְשַׁמֵּר לָהּ עַד שֶׁיִּצַּת אֶת הָאוּר בְּרֻבָּהּ וְתִקָּרַע בִּטְנָהּ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹטֵל עֵץ אֶרֶז וְאֵזוֹב אֵין פָּחוֹת מִטֶּפַח וְצֶמֶר צָבוּעַ בְּתוֹלַעַת מִשְׁקַל חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים וְאוֹמֵר לָעוֹמְדִים שָׁם. עֵץ אֶרֶז זֶה עֵץ אֶרֶז זֶה עֵץ אֶרֶז זֶה. אֵזוֹב זֶה אֵזוֹב זֶה אֵזוֹב זֶה. שְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת זֶה שְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת זֶה שְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת זֶה. שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים עַל כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד. וְהֵן אוֹמְרִין לוֹ הֵין הֵין הֵין שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים עַל כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד. וְכָל כָּךְ לָמָּה לְפִי שֶׁמִּינֵי אֲרָזִים שִׁבְעָה הֵן וּמִינֵי אֵזוֹב אַרְבָּעָה וְהַצָּבוּעַ אָדֹם יֵשׁ שֶׁצּוֹבְעִין אוֹתוֹ בְּפוּאָה וְיֵשׁ שֶׁצּוֹבְעִין אוֹתוֹ בְּלַכָּא וְיֵשׁ שֶׁצּוֹבְעִין אוֹתוֹ בְּתוֹלַעַת וְהַתּוֹלַעַת הִיא הַגַּרְגְּרִים הָאֲדֻמִּים בְּיוֹתֵר הַדּוֹמִים לְגַרְעִינֵי הֶחָרוּבִים וְהֵן כְּמוֹ הָאוֹג וְתוֹלַעַת כְּמוֹ יַתּוּשׁ יֵשׁ בְּכָל גַּרְגִּיר מֵהֶן וּלְפִיכָךְ מוֹדִיעַ לַכּל וּמְגַלֶּה לָהֶן שֶׁאֵלּוּ הֵן הַמִּינִים הָאֲמוּרִים בַּתּוֹרָה. וְהָאֵזוֹב הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה הוּא הָאֵזוֹב שֶׁאוֹכְלִין אוֹתוֹ בַּעֲלֵי בָּתִּים וּמְתַבְּלִין בּוֹ הַקְּדֵרוֹת. הָאֵזוֹב וְהָאֶרֶז וְהַתּוֹלַעַת שְׁלָשְׁתָּן מְעַכְּבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וְכוֹרֵךְ הָאֵזוֹב עִם הָאֶרֶז בְּלָשׁוֹן שֶׁל שָׁנִי וּמַשְׁלִיךְ אֶל תּוֹךְ בִּטְנָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ו) "וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אֶל תּוֹךְ שְׂרֵפַת הַפָּרָה". וְאֵינוֹ מַשְׁלִיךְ קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּצִּית הָאוּר בְּרֻבָּהּ וְלֹא אַחַר שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר וְאִם הִשְׁלִיךְ פְּסוּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶל תּוֹךְ שְׂרֵפַת לֹא קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּצַּת הָאוּר בְּרֻבָּהּ וְלֹא אַחַר שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר. בֵּין שֶׁהִשְׁלִיךְ שְׁלָשְׁתָּן כְּאַחַת בֵּין שֶׁהִשְׁלִיךְ זֶה אַחַר זֶה בֵּין שֶׁהִשְׁלִיךְ לְתוֹךְ גּוּפָהּ אוֹ לְתוֹךְ שְׂרֵפָתָהּ בֵּין שֶׁנִּקְרְעָה מֵאֵלֶיהָ וְאַחַר כָּךְ הִשְׁלִיךְ בֵּין שֶׁקְּרָעָהּ בְּיָדוֹ אוֹ בִּכְלִי כְּשֵׁרָה:

3

When the process of burning it has been completed, its remnants and all of the pieces of wood in its arrangement that were burnt with it are beaten with clubs and everything is raked out with rakes. Anything - whether from its flesh or from the wood - that has been blackened and is possible to be crushed and reduced to ashes, should be crushed and reduced to ashes. If something has no trace of ash on it, it is left. Any piece of bone that remains from the heifer's bones that was not burnt should be crushed regardless.

ג

נִגְמְרָה שְׂרֵפָתָהּ חוֹבְטִין אוֹתָהּ בְּמַקְלוֹת הִיא וְכָל עֲצֵי הַמַּעֲרָכָה שֶׁנִּשְׂרְפָה בָּהֶן וְכוֹבְרִין אֶת הַכּל בִּכְבָרוֹת וְכָל שָׁחֹר שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּכָּתֵשׁ וְיִהְיֶה אֵפֶר בֵּין מִבְּשָׂרָהּ בֵּין מִן הָעֵצִים כּוֹתְשִׁין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר וְשֶׁאֵין בּוֹ אֵפֶר מַנִּיחִין אוֹתוֹ וְכָל עֶצֶם שֶׁנִּשְׁאַר מֵעֲצָמֶיהָ בְּלֹא שְׂרֵפָה בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ הָיָה נִכְתַּשׁ:

4

None of its ashes are brought into the Temple Courtyard for storage, as ibid.:9 states: "And he shall place it outside the camp." The ashes were divided into three portions: one was placed in the chayl one, on the Mount of Olives, and one, was divided among all the priestly guardposts.

The one that was divided among all the priestly watches was used by the priests to sanctify themselves. The one that was placed on the Mount of Olives was used by the entire Jewish people for sprinkling. And the one that was placed in the chayl was prepared and hidden away, as implied by ibid. which states: "It will be a security for the congregation of Israel." This teaches that it was put away for safekeeping.

Indeed, in the chayl, they would put away for safekeeping a portion of the ashes from every red heifer that was burnt. Nine red heifers were offered from the time that they were commanded to fulfill this mitzvah until the time when the Temple was destroyed a second time. The first was brought by Moses our teacher. The second was brought by Ezra. Seven others were offered until the destruction of the Second Temple. And the tenth will be brought by the king Mashiach; may he speedily be revealed. Amen, so may it be G‑d's will.

ד

אֵין מַכְנִיסִין כְּלוּם מֵאֶפְרָהּ לְהַנִּיחוֹ בָּעֲזָרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ט) "וְהִנִּיחַ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה". וּשְׁלֹשָׁה חֲלָקִים הָיוּ חוֹלְקִין אֶת כָּל אֶפְרָהּ אֶחָד נִתַּן בַּחֵיל וְאֶחָד בְּהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה וְאֶחָד מִתְחַלֵּק לְכָל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת. זֶה שֶׁמִּתְחַלֵּק לְכָל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת הָיוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים מְקַדְּשִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ. וְזֶה שֶׁנִּתַּן בְּהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה הָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מַזִּין מִמֶּנּוּ. וְזֶה שֶׁנִּתַּן בַּחֵיל הָיָה מוּכָן וּמֻצְנָע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ט) "וְהָיְתָה לַעֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁמַּצְנִיעִין מִמֶּנּוּ. וְכֵן הָיוּ מַצְנִיעִין מֵאֵפֶר כָּל פָּרָה וּפָרָה שֶׁשּׂוֹרְפִין בַּחֵיל. וְתֵשַׁע פָּרוֹת אֲדֻמּוֹת נַעֲשׂוּ מִשֶּׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בְּמִצְוָה זוֹ עַד שֶׁחָרַב הַבַּיִת בַּשְּׁנִיָּה. רִאשׁוֹנָה עָשָׂה משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ. שְׁנִיָּה עָשָׂה עֶזְרָא. וְשֶׁבַע מֵעֶזְרָא עַד חֻרְבַּן הַבַּיִת. וְהָעֲשִׂירִית יַעֲשֶׂה הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ מְהֵרָה יִגָּלֶה אָמֵן כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן:

Parah Adumah - Chapter 4

1

Two red heifers should not be slaughtered at the same time, as Numbers 19:3 states: "And you shall slaughter it."

א

אֵין שׁוֹחֲטִין שְׁתֵּי פָּרוֹת אֲדֻמּוֹת כְּאַחַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ג) "וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ":

2

If the red heifer did not desire to go out, a black one should not be taken out with it, so that it would not be said: "They slaughtered a black one." Nor is another red one taken out, so that it would not be said: "They slaughtered two at once."

ב

לֹא רָצְתָה פָּרָה לָצֵאת אֵין מוֹצִיאִין עִמָּהּ שְׁחוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ שְׁחוֹרָה שָׁחֲטוּ וְלֹא אֲדֻמָּה שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ שְׁתַּיִם שָׁחֲטוּ:

3

When a red heifer was slaughtered with another intent in mind or its blood was received or sprinkled with another intent in mind, with the proper intent and another intent in mind, or with another intent and the proper intent in mind, it was offered by someone other than a priest, or it was offered by a priest lacking one or more of the priestly garments, while wearing the golden garments, or while wearing ordinary garments, it is unacceptable.

If it was slaughtered with the intent of partaking of its flesh or drinking its blood, it is acceptable. The rationale is that the expression "a pleasant fragrance" was not stated with regard to it.

ג

פָּרָה שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטָה שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ אוֹ שֶׁקִּבֵּל אוֹ שֶׁהִזָּה שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ אוֹ לִשְׁמָהּ וְשֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ וְלִשְׁמָהּ אוֹ שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית שֶׁלֹּא בְּכֹהֵן אוֹ בִּמְחֻסַּר בְּגָדִים אוֹ שֶׁעֲשָׂאָהּ בְּבִגְדֵי זָהָב אוֹ בְּבִגְדֵי חֹל פְּסוּלָה. שְׁחָטָהּ עַל מְנָת לֶאֱכל מִבְּשָׂרָהּ אוֹ לִשְׁתּוֹת מִדָּמָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר בָּהּ רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ:

4

If its blood was received in a container, it is unacceptable, as Numbers 19:4 states: "And Elazar the priest will take the blood with his finger." The mitzvah is performed with the finger and not with a utensil.

ד

קִבֵּל דָּמָהּ בִּכְלִי פְּסוּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ד) "וְלָקַח אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן מִדָּמָהּ בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ" מִצְוָתָהּ מִצְוַת יָד וְלֹא מִצְוַת כְּלִי:

5

If he sprinkled the blood, even one sprinkling with a utensil, the sprinkling is unacceptable. If he performed one sprinkling with his left hand, it is unacceptable. If seven priests sprinkled the blood at the same time, their sprinkling is unacceptable. If they did so one after the other, it is acceptable.

If he sprinkled the blood, but did not direct it to the Sanctuary, it is unacceptable, as ibid. states: "opposite the front of the Tent of Meeting." Implied is that he should direct it toward the Sanctuary and see the Sanctuary. Similarly, if he slaughtered it or burnt it not opposite the Sanctuary, it is unacceptable, as implied by Numbers 19:3: "He shall slaughter it before him."

ה

הִזָּה בִּכְלִי אֲפִלּוּ אַחַת מֵהֶן הַזָּאָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. הִזָּה אַחַת מֵהֶן בִּשְׂמֹאלוֹ פְּסוּלָה. הִזּוּ שִׁבְעָה כֹּהֲנִים הַזָּיָתָן כְּאֶחָד הַזָּיָתָן פְּסוּלָה. זֶה אַחַר זֶה כְּשֵׁרָה. הִזָּה וְלֹא כִּוֵּן כְּנֶגֶד הַהֵיכָל פְּסוּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ד) "אֶל נֹכַח פְּנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד" עַד שֶׁיְּכַוֵּן כְּנֶגֶד הַהֵיכָל וְיִהְיֶה רוֹאֵהוּ. וְכֵן אִם שְׁחָטָהּ אוֹ שְׂרָפָהּ שֶׁלֹּא כְּנֶגֶד הַהֵיכָל פְּסוּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ג) "וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ לְפָנָיו":

6

When does the above apply? When he sprinkled the blood or burnt or slaughtered the heifer southward or northward, or with his back to the Sanctuary. If, however, he stood between the east and the west and faced the Sanctuary, even if he did not direct himself toward the Sanctuary exactly, it is acceptable.

ו

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁהִזָּה אוֹ שָׂרַף אוֹ שָׁחַט כְּנֶגֶד הַדָּרוֹם אוֹ כְּנֶגֶד צָפוֹן אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה אֲחוֹרָיו לַמִּקְדָּשׁ. אֲבָל אִם עָמַד בֵּין מִזְרָח וּמַעֲרָב וּפָנָיו כְּנֶגֶד הַהֵיכָל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא כִּוֵּן כְּנֶגֶד [הַהֵיכָל] בְּדִקְדּוּק כְּשֵׁרָה:

7

If one of the sprinklings is lacking, it is unacceptable. If one dipped his finger in the blood twice and sprinkled once, the sprinkling is unacceptable. If he dipped his finger once and sprinkled twice, even if he did not count the second sprinkling and instead, dipped his finger and sprinkled a second time, it is unacceptable.

What is implied? He dipped his finger in the blood for the sixth time and performed the sixth and seventh sprinklings, it is unacceptable, even if he dipped his finger in the blood again and sprinkled it a seventh time. If, after dipping his finger into the blood for the seventh time, he performed a seventh and eighth sprinkling - even if he dipped his finger into the blood an eighth time and then sprinkled it an eighth time, it is acceptable, for any addition over the seven is of no consequence, provided it is another priest making the addition. If, however, the priest burning it made the additional sprinkling, it is unacceptable, because he involved himself in an unnecessary activity while burning it.

ז

חִסֵּר אַחַת מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת פְּסוּלָה. טָבַל שְׁתַּיִם וְהִזָּה אַחַת הַזָּאָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. טָבַל אַחַת וְהִזָּה שְׁתַּיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא חָשַׁב הַזָּאָה שְׁנִיָּה אֶלָּא טָבַל וְהִזָּה אַחֶרֶת הַזָּיָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. כֵּיצַד. טָבַל אֶצְבָּעוֹ טְבִילָה שִׁשִּׁית וְהִזָּה שֵׁשׁ וְשֶׁבַע אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָזַר וְטָבַל אֶצְבָּעוֹ וְהִזָּה שֶׁבַע הַזָּיָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. הִזָּה מִטְּבִילָה שְׁבִיעִית [שְׁבִיעִית] וּשְׁמִינִית אֲפִלּוּ חָזַר וְטָבַל טְבִילָה שְׁמִינִית וְהִזָּה שְׁמִינִית כְּשֵׁרָה שֶׁכָּל שֶׁמּוֹסִיף עַל הַשֶּׁבַע אֵינוֹ כְּלוּם. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה זֶה שֶׁהוֹסִיף כֹּהֵן אַחֵר אֲבָל הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף אוֹתָהּ אִם הוֹסִיף פְּסוּלָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּתְעַסֵּק בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ בִּשְׁעַת שְׂרֵפָתָהּ:

8

If one removed the blood from its arrangement and then sprinkled it, it is invalid.

ח

הוֹצִיא אֶת הַדָּם חוּץ מִמַּעֲרַכְתָּהּ וְהִזָּה פְּסוּלָה:

9

If one sprinkled its blood at night - even if one performed seven sprinklings during the day and one at night - it is unacceptable.

ט

הִזָּה מִדָּמָהּ בַּלַּיְלָה אֲפִלּוּ הִזָּה שֵׁשׁ הַזָּיוֹת בַּיּוֹם וְאַחַת בַּלַּיְלָה פְּסוּלָה:

10

If one slaughtered it outside the place where it is burnt, even if one slaughtered it within the walls of Jerusalem, it is unacceptable.

י

שְׁחָטָהּ חוּץ מִמְּקוֹם שְׂרֵפָתָהּ אֲפִלּוּ שְׁחָטָהּ לְפָנִים מִן הַחוֹמָה פְּסוּלָה:

11

If one burnt it outside the arrangement on which it was slaughtered, it was divided in two and burnt in two arrangements, or two heifers were burned on one arrangement, it is disqualified. If it was already reduced to ashes, one may bring another one and slaughter it over the ashes of the first without any qualms.

יא

שְׂרָפָהּ חוּץ מִמַּעֲרָכָה שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטָה עָלֶיהָ. אוֹ שֶׁחִלְּקָהּ לִשְׁנַיִם וּשְׂרָפָהּ בִּשְׁתֵּי מַעֲרָכוֹת. אוֹ שֶׁשָּׂרַף שְׁתַּיִם בְּמַעֲרָכָה אַחַת פְּסוּלָה. וְאִם אַחַר שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית אֵפֶר מֵבִיא אַחֶרֶת שׂוֹרֵף עַל גַּבָּהּ וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ:

12

If one skinned it and cut it into pieces and then burnt it in its entirety, it is acceptable. If any slight part of its substance, even its dung, is lacking, it is unacceptable. If an olive-sized portion of its skin, meat, or even its hair flew off its pyre, it should be returned. If he did not return it, it is unacceptable.

If it flew outside its arrangement, one should place much wood over it and burn it in its place. If its horns, its hooves, or its dung flew off, they need not be returned to the pyre.

יב

הִפְשִׁיטָהּ וּנְתָחָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ שָׂרַף כֻּלָּהּ כְּשֵׁרָה. וְאִם חִסֵּר מִמֶּנָּה כְּלוּם אֲפִלּוּ מִפִּרְשָׁהּ פְּסוּלָה. פָּקַע מֵעוֹרָהּ אוֹ מִבְּשָׂרָהּ אֲפִלּוּ מִשְּׂעָרָהּ כְּזַיִת יַחְזִיר וְאִם לֹא הֶחְזִיר פְּסוּלָה. פָּקַע חוּץ לְמַעֲרַכְתָּהּ מַרְבֶּה עָלָיו וְשׂוֹרְפוֹ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. פָּקַע מִקַּרְנֶיהָ מִטְּלָפֶיהָ אוֹ מִפִּרְשָׁהּ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַחְזִיר:

13

The red heifer is not disqualified if it is left overnight without being burnt. Therefore if it was slaughtered on one day and its blood sprinkled as required and then it was burned on the following day, it is acceptable.

יג

הַפָּרָה אֵינָהּ נִפְסֶלֶת בְּלִינָה לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִשְׁחֲטָה הַיּוֹם וְהִזָּה דָּמָהּ כְּהִלְכָתוֹ וְנִשְׂרְפָה לְמָחָר כְּשֵׁרָה:

14

If the priest who burns it is in the acute state of onein mourning or is lacking atonement, it is acceptable.

יד

שְׂרָפָהּ אוֹנֵן אוֹ מְחֻסַּר כַּפָּרָה כְּשֵׁרָה:

15

If one burnt it without sanctifying his hands and feet, it is invalid, because the process of offering the red heifer is comparable to sacrificial worship.

Where does he sanctify his hands and feet? From a consecrated vessel in the Temple Courtyard. If one consecrated them outside the Temple Courtyard with an ordinary vessel, even with a tiny earthenware cup, it is acceptable, because the entire process of offering the heifer is performed outside.

When the priest who burns the red heifer immerses himself after he is made impure, as we explained, he need not sanctify his hands and feet again, since the entire process of offering it is performed by those who immersed that day.

טו

שְׂרָפָהּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּקִדּוּשׁ יָדַיִם וְרַגְלַיִם פְּסוּלָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּעֲשֶׂיהָ כְּעֵין עֲבוֹדָה. וְהֵיכָן מְקַדֵּשׁ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו בִּכְלִי שָׁרֵת בִּפְנִים וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בַּחוּץ וּמִכְּלִי חֹל אֲפִלּוּ בִּמְקֵדָה שֶׁל חֶרֶס כָּשֵׁר הוֹאִיל וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיהָ בַּחוּץ. וְכֵן כְּשֶׁמַּטְבִּילִין אֶת הַכֹּהֵן הַשּׂוֹרֵף אַחַר שֶׁמְּטַמְּאִין אוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ הוֹאִיל וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיהָ בִּטְבוּלֵי יוֹם:

16

If one burnt it without wood or with all types of wood, even with straw and stubble, it is acceptable, The optimum way of performing the mitzvah is not to reduce the wood less than is appropriate. On the contrary, one should add to it bundles of hyssop and Greek hyssop while it is burning to increase the amount of ashes. One may add to its conflagration until the heifer itself is reduced to ashes. Once it is reduced to ashes, if one added even one piece of wood to it, it is like one who mixed ashes from a range with the ashes of the red heifer.

טז

שְׂרָפָהּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵצִים אוֹ בְּכָל עֵצִים אֲפִלּוּ בְּקַשׁ אוֹ בִּגְבָבָא כְּשֵׁרָה. וּמִצְוָתָהּ שֶׁלֹּא יְמַעֵט לָהּ עֵצִים מִן הָרָאוּי לָהּ אֲבָל מַרְבֶּה הוּא לָהּ חֲבִילֵי אֵזוֹב וְאֵזוֹב יוֹן בִּזְמַן שְׂרֵפָה כְּדֵי לְהַרְבּוֹת אֶת הָאֵפֶר. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַרְבּוֹת עֵצִים בִּשְׂרֵפָתָהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר אֲבָל מִשֶּׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר אִם הוֹסִיף בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ עֵץ אֶחָד הֲרֵי זֶה כִּמְעָרֵב אֵפֶר מַקְלֶה בְּאֵפֶר הַפָּרָה:

17

All of the activities performed with the red heifer from the beginning to the end must be performed only during the day and by male priests and the performance of work disqualifies it until it is reduced to ashes. Once it is reduced to ashes, it is acceptable even if its ashes were collected at night, by a woman, or one performed another task while collecting them.

What is the source that teaches that the collection of the ashes is acceptable if performed by any person with the exception of a deafmute, an intellectually or emotionally incapable person, or a minor? It is written Numbers 19:9: "And a pure man shall gather the ashes of the heifer." It can be derived that a priest is not required. Moreover, it is as if it said "a pure person," i.e., either a man or a woman.

What source teaches that the performance of work disqualifies it? Ibid.:3 states: "And he shall slaughter it." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this phrase comes solely to teach that if the priest becomes involved in another task at the time of slaughter, it is unacceptable. And ibid.:5 states: "And the heifer shall be burnt before his eyes," i.e., his eyes should be concentrated on it. This teaches that the performance of work causes it to be disqualified from the time of its slaughter until it is reduced to ashes. Anyone involved in burning it who performs another task disqualifies it until it is reduced to ashes.

יז

כָּל מַעֲשֵׂה הַפָּרָה מִתְּחִלָּה וְעַד סוֹף אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וּבְזִכְרֵי כְּהֻנָּה. וְהַמְּלָאכָה פּוֹסֶלֶת בָּהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר. אֲבָל מִשֶּׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר אִם כָּנַס אֶפְרָהּ בַּלַּיְלָה אוֹ שֶׁכְּנָסַתּוּ אִשָּׁה אוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה מְלָאכָה אַחֶרֶת בִּשְׁעַת כְּנִיסָתוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֲסִיפַת הָאֵפֶר בְּכָל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ט) "וְאָסַף אִישׁ טָהוֹר" מִכְּלַל שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה כֹּהֵן וּכְאִלּוּ אָמַר אָדָם טָהוֹר בֵּין אִישׁ בֵּין אִשָּׁה. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהַמְּלָאכָה פּוֹסֶלֶת בָּהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט ג) "וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁלֹּא בָּא הַכָּתוּב אֶלָּא לְלַמֵּד שֶׁאִם נִתְעַסֵּק בְּדָבָר אַחֵר בִּשְׁעַת שְׁחִיטָתָהּ פְּסָלָהּ וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יט ה) "וְשָׂרַף אֶת הַפָּרָה לְעֵינָיו" שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵינָיו בָּהּ לְלַמֵּד שֶׁהַמְּלָאכָה פּוֹסֶלֶת בָּהּ מִשְּׁעַת שְׁחִיטָה עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר. וְכָל הָעוֹסֵק בִּשְׂרֵפָתָהּ וְעָשָׂה מְלָאכָה אַחֶרֶת פְּסָלָהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אֵפֶר:

18

If one slaughtered the heifer and another animal was slaughtered with it or a gourd was cut with it, it is acceptable because he did not intend to perform work. This applies even though the animal that was slaughtered with it is acceptable to be eaten, for the slaughter of ordinary animals does not require concentrated intent. If, however, one had the intent of cutting the gourd and it was cut while he was slaughtering the red heifer, the heifer is disqualified, because work was performed during its slaughter.

יח

שָׁחַט אֶת הַפָּרָה וְנִשְׁחֲטָה בְּהֵמָה אַחֶרֶת עִמָּהּ אוֹ נֶחְתְכָה דְּלַעַת עִמָּהּ כְּשֵׁרָה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן לִמְלָאכָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבְּהֵמָה שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטָה עִמָּהּ כְּשֵׁרָה לַאֲכִילָה שֶׁאֵין שְׁחִיטַת הַחֻלִּין צְרִיכָה כַּוָּנָה. אֲבָל אִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לַחְתֹּךְ הַדְּלַעַת וְנֶחְתְכָה בִּשְׁעַת שְׁחִיטָה פְּסוּלָה שֶׁהֲרֵי עָשָׂה עִמָּהּ מְלָאכָה:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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