1

The water upon which the ashes of the red heifer are placed must be drawn only with a container and only from a spring or flowing river, as Numbers 19:17 states: "And he shall place upon it living water in a vessel."

Placing the ashes of the heifer on the water that was drawn is called sanctification. The water on which the ashes were placed is called mei chatat and sanctified water. Scripture Numbers 19:9 refers to them as mei nidah, "sprinkling water."

א

הַמַּיִם שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין עָלָיו אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה אֵין מְמַלְּאִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא בִּכְלִי. וּמִן הַמַּעְיָנוֹת אוֹ מִן הַנְּהָרוֹת הַמּוֹשְׁכִין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט יז) "וְנָתַן עָלָיו מַיִם חַיִּים אֶל כֶּלִי". וּנְתִינַת אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה עַל הַמַּיִם שֶׁנִּתְמַלְּאוּ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא קִדּוּשׁ. וְהַמַּיִם הָאֵלּוּ שֶׁנִּתַּן עֲלֵיהֶן הָאֵפֶר הֵן הַנִּקְרָאִין מֵי חַטָּאת וּמַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין וְהֵם שֶׁקְּרָאָן הַכָּתוּב (במדבר יט) "מֵי נִדָּה":

2

Everyone is acceptable to draw the water for the ashes of the red heifer, except a deafmute, an intellectually or emotionally compromised person, and a minor. Similarly, everyone is acceptable to sanctify the water except a deafmute, an intellectually or emotionally compromised person, and a minor.

One must draw such water and sanctify it only with a vessel and one may sprinkle the ashes only from a vessel. Drawing this water and sanctifying it is acceptable at night, but the sprinkling and the immersion of the hyssop in the water is acceptable only during the day. The entire day is fit for the sprinkling and this immersion.

ב

הַכּל כְּשֵׁרִים לְמַלְּאוֹת הַמַּיִם חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן. וְהַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לְקַדֵּשׁ חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן. וְאֵין מְמַלְּאִין וְאֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין אֶלָּא בִּכְלִי וְאֵין מַזִּין אֶלָּא מִכְּלִי. וְהַמִּלּוּי וְהַקִּדּוּשׁ כְּשֵׁרִין בַּלַּיְלָה אֲבָל אֵין מַזִּין וְאֵין טוֹבְלִין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְכָל הַיּוֹם כָּשֵׁר לְהַזָּאָה וְלִטְבִילָה:

3

One may draw this water, sprinkle it when mixed with the ashes, and sanctify it with all vessels, even vessels made of animal turds, stone, or earth, or a ship. This applies to earthenware utensils and all other utensils. One may not, however, draw this water, sprinkle the water, or sanctify it with the walls of a vessel, the base of an earthenware distributor of water, the sealing of a jug, one's hands, an egg-shell, or a trough within a natural rock. One may, however, used an egg made by a potter, because it is considered as a vessel made from earth.

ג

בְּכָל הַכֵּלִים מְמַלְּאִין וּמַזִּין וּמְקַדְּשִׁין אֲפִלּוּ בִּכְלֵי גְּלָלִים וּכְלֵי אֲבָנִים וּכְלֵי אֲדָמָה וּבִסְפִינָה. וְאֶחָד כְּלֵי חֶרֶס וְאֶחָד כָּל הַכֵּלִים. אֲבָל אֵין מְמַלְּאִין וְאֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין וְלֹא מַזִּין בְּדָפְנוֹת הַכֵּלִים וְלֹא בְּשׁוּלֵי הַמַּחַץ וְלֹא בִּמְגוּפַת הֶחָבִית וְלֹא בְּחָפְנָיו וְלֹא בְּבֵיצַת הַתַּרְנְגלֶת וְלֹא בְּשֹׁקֶת שֶׁבַּסֶּלַע. אֲבָל בֵּיצַת הַיּוֹצְרִים כְּשֵׁרָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא כְּלִי אֲדָמָה:

4

We may not sanctify with the base of a wooden vessel, that of a glass vessel, or that of a bone vessel unless they were smoothed down, repaired, and made into vessels in their own right. Similarly, if the sealing of a jug was fixed to serve as a vessel, one may sanctify the water with it. An ostrich egg is acceptable for sanctification. Needless to say, it is acceptable to be used to draw this water and sprinkle from it.

ד

שׁוּלֵי כְּלֵי עֵץ וּכְלֵי זְכוּכִית וּכְלֵי עֶצֶם אֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין בָּהֶן עַד שֶׁיָּשׁוּף אוֹתָן וִיתַקְּנֵם וְיַעֲשֵׂם כֵּלִים בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָן. וְכֵן מְגוּפָה שֶׁהִתְקִינָהּ לִהְיוֹת כְּלִי מְקַדְּשִׁין בָּהּ. וּבֵיצַת הַנַּעֲמִית כְּשֵׁרָה לְקַדֵּשׁ בָּהּ וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁכְּשֵׁרָה לְמַלְּאוֹת בָּהּ וּלְהַזּוֹת מִמֶּנָּה:

5

When a utensil was attached to the earth or to rock, even if it was attached with lime, one may sanctify in it or sprinkle from it. The following laws apply if one made a border of clay around such a container and the water in the container was filled beyond its limits until it is held within the border. If the border remains intact when the container is moved, the water in it is acceptable. It is as if it is in a container made from earth. If not, it is as if one formed a border of clay on a rock or on the earth and filled it with water. This would be unacceptable, because the water is not in a container.

ה

כְּלִי שֶׁחִבְּרוֹ בָּאָרֶץ אוֹ בַּסֶּלַע אֲפִלּוּ חִבְּרוֹ בְּסִיד מְקַדְּשִׁין בּוֹ וּמַזִּין מִמֶּנּוּ. עָשָׂה עֲטָרָה שֶׁל טִיט סָבִיב לַכְּלִי וְהַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי צָפִין עַד שֶׁהָלְכוּ לָעֲטָרָה אִם נִטֶּלֶת הָעֲטָרָה עִם הַכְּלִי הֲרֵי הַמַּיִם שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ כְּשֵׁרִים שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵן בִּכְלִי אֲדָמָה וְאִם לָאו הֲרֵי הֵן כְּמִי שֶׁהִקִּיף עֲטָרָה שֶׁל טִיט בַּסֶּלַע אוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ וּמִלֵּא אוֹתָהּ מַיִם שֶׁהֵן פְּסוּלִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָן בִּכְלִי:

6

When an earthenware container has been perforated to the extent that water would enter it, one may not draw this water or sanctify it with it. If, however, its hole is smaller and water will leak out, but will not enter, one may sanctify with it.

ו

כְּלִי חֶרֶס שֶׁנִּקַּב בְּכוֹנֵס מַשְׁקֶה אֵין מְמַלְּאִין וּמְקַדְּשִׁין בּוֹ אֲבָל אִם נִקַּב בְּמוֹצִיא מַשְׁקֶה מְקַדְּשִׁין בּוֹ:

7

When a container has been perforated from below and plugged close with rags, it is invalid. The rationale is that the water in it is not resting on the base of the utensil, but on the plug. If it was perforated from the side and plugged, it is acceptable to draw this water, sanctify it, and sprinkle it using such a container.

ז

כְּלִי שֶׁנִּקַּב מִלְּמַטָּה וּסְתָמוֹ בִּסְמַרְטוּטִין פָּסוּל שֶׁהַמַּיִם שֶׁבּוֹ אֵינָן עַל עִגּוּל הַכְּלִי אֶלָּא עַל הַפְּקָק. הָיָה נָקוּב מִן הַצַּד וּפְקָקוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כָּשֵׁר לְמַלְּאוֹת וּלְקַדֵּשׁ וּלְהַזּוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ:

8

When someone splashes water from a spring with his hands or his feet or with shards, causing them to enter a barrel, the water is unacceptable to be used for a red heifer, because it was not drawn with a utensil. Even if one placed the barrel in the water and pushed the water with his hands or feet or with vegetable leaves so that it flows into the barrel, it is unacceptable. Similarly, if one submerged articles into water so that the water would rise and flow into the barrel, it is unacceptable. If one did the above with the leaves of reeds or nut shells, the water is acceptable.

This is the general principle: If one uses something that is fit to contract ritual impurity to help move the water so that the container will become full, the water is unacceptable. If one used something that is not susceptible to ritual impurity, it is acceptable.

ח

הַזּוֹלֵף מַיִם מִן הַמַּעְיָן בְּיָדָיו וּבְרַגְלָיו וּבַחֲרָסִים וְנָתַן לְתוֹךְ הֶחָבִית פְּסוּלִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְמַלְּאוּ בִּכְלִי. נָתַן אֶת הֶחָבִית בְּמַיִם וְדָחַק הַמַּיִם בְּיָדָיו אוֹ בְּרַגְלָיו אוֹ בַּעֲלֵי יְרָקוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעַבְרוּ לֶחָבִית הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין. וְכֵן אִם שִׁקְּעוֹ בְּמַיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּגְבְּרוּ הַמַּיִם וְיַעֲלוּ וְיִשָּׁפְכוּ לֶחָבִית פְּסוּלִין. וְאִם עָשָׂה כֵּן בַּעֲלֵי קָנִים אוֹ בַּעֲלֵי אֱגוֹז הֲרֵי הַמַּיִם כְּשֵׁרִים. זֶה הַכְּלָל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה אִם סִיֵּעַ בּוֹ הַמַּיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּמַלְּאוּ הַכְּלִי הַמַּיִם פְּסוּלִין וְאִם סִיֵּעַ בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּשֵׁרִים:

9

If one causes a spring to flow into a vat or into a pool and then drew water with a container from that pool or vat, it is unacceptable. For at the outset, one must draw water from the spring with a container.

ט

הַמְפַנֶּה הַמַּעְיָן לְתוֹךְ הַגַּת אוֹ לְתוֹךְ הַגֶּבֶא וְחָזַר וּמִלֵּא בִּכְלִי מֵאוֹתוֹ הַגֶּבֶא אוֹ הַגַּת פְּסוּלִים שֶׁהֲרֵי צָרִיךְ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה לְקִיחַת הַמַּיִם מִן הַמַּעְיָן בִּכְלִי בַּתְּחִלָּה:

10

The Great Sea is considered like a mikveh and not like a spring. Therefore water to be sanctified may not be drawn from it. Water from all of the rivers is unacceptable to be sanctified to serve as the water for the ashes of the red heifer. Other seas or lakes are like springs.

י

הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל כְּמִקְוֶה וְאֵינוֹ כְּמַעְיָן לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְמַלְּאִין מִמֶּנּוּ לְקִדּוּשׁ. וְכָל הַנְּהָרוֹת פְּסוּלִין לְקַדֵּשׁ מֵהֶן מֵי חַטָּאת. וּשְׁאָר הַיַּמִּים כְּמַעְיָן:

11

Water that flows out from other seas is called running water and is unacceptable. Water flowing from a stream is considered as the stream itself and is acceptable.

יא

וְהַמַּיִם הַנִּגְרָרִין מִשְּׁאָר הַיַּמִּים וְהֵן הַנִּקְרָאִין זוֹחֲלִין פְּסוּלִין. וְהַזּוֹחֲלִין מִן הַמַּעְיָן הֲרֵי הֵם כְּמַעְיָן וּכְשֵׁרִים:

12

Spoiled springs and "lying" waters are unacceptable. The following types of springs are termed spoiled: salty springs or hot springs. "Lying" waters refer to springs that sometimes flow and sometimes, run dry and are arid. Even if they run dry only once in seven years, they are unacceptable. If, however, they run dry only in years of drought or less frequently than once in seven years, or their waters were, at times, abundant and, at times, sparse, but they do not run entirely dry, they are acceptable. When a stream is first discovered, it is deemed acceptable. There is no need to see whether it will run dry in certain years.

יב

מַיִם הַמֻּכִּין וְהַמְכַזְּבִין פְּסוּלִין. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַמֻּכִּין הַמְּלוּחִים אוֹ הַפּוֹשְׁרִים וְהַמְכַזְּבִים הֵם הַמַּעְיָנוֹת שֶׁפְּעָמִים מְקֵירִין וּפְעָמִים חֲרֵבִין וִיבֵשִׁין אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ חֲרֵבִין פַּעַם אַחַת לְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים פְּסוּלִין. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ חֲרֵבִין בִּשְׁנֵי בַּצֹּרֶת אוֹ לְשָׁנִים רַבּוֹת יֶתֶר מִשֶּׁבַע אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ מֵימֵיהֶן פְּעָמִים מְרֻבִּין וּפְעָמִים מוּעָטִין וְאֵינָן חֲרֵבִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ כְּשֵׁרִים. וּמַעְיָן הַיּוֹצֵא בַּתְּחִלָּה כָּשֵׁר וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק שֶׁמָּא יְכַזֵּב:

13

Swamps and waters like those of the Jordan and the Yarmuch are unacceptable, because they are mixed waters. This is what is meant by the term "mixed waters": water that is fit to be sanctified that is mixed with water that is unfit. Water should not be drawn from such a mixture. When, by contrast, water that is acceptable becomes mixed with other water that is acceptable, e.g., the water of two streams become mixed and flow together, water for the ashes of a red heifer may be drawn from them.

יג

מֵי בֵּיצִים וּמֵי הַיַּרְדֵּן וּמֵי הַיַּרְמוּךְ פְּסוּלִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן מֵי הַתַּעֲרוֹבוֹת. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן מֵי הַתַּעֲרוֹבוֹת. מַיִם כְּשֵׁרִים לְקִדּוּשׁ שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ בְּמַיִם פְּסוּלִין אֵין מְמַלְּאִין מִתַּעֲרֹבֶת שְׁנֵיהֶם. אֲבָל מַיִם כְּשֵׁרִים שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ בְּמַיִם כְּשֵׁרִים כְּגוֹן מֵימֵי שְׁתֵּי הַמַּעְיָנוֹת שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ וְנִמְשְׁכוּ מְמַלְּאִין מֵהֶן:

14

If the appearance or flavor of water changes because of itself, it is acceptable.

יד

הַמַּיִם שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנּוּ שִׁנּוּיָן מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָן כְּשֵׁרִין:

15

If a shard or earth fell into a well and caused its water to become murky, one may still draw water for the ashes of a red heifer from it. It is not necessary to wait until the water clears. If a flow of rainwater falls into it, one should wait until the water becomes clear.

טו

בְּאֵר שֶׁנָּפַל לְתוֹכָהּ חַרְסִית אוֹ אֲדָמָה וְנַעֲשׂוּ מֵימֶיהָ עֲכוּרִין מְמַלֵּא מִמֶּנָּה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַמְתִּין. נָפַל לְתוֹכָהּ שֶׁטֶף שֶׁל מֵימֵי גְּשָׁמִים יַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁתִּיצַּל:

16

It is acceptable to draw water for the ashes of the red heifer from an irrigation canal that brings water from a distance, since it originates in a wellspring, provided one is careful that a person does not interrupt the flow. Were that to happen, one would be drawing water that originated in a wellspring, but was interrupted; this is not acceptable.

טז

אַמַּת הַמַּיִם הַבָּאָה מֵרָחוֹק הוֹאִיל וּתְחִלָּתָהּ מִן הַמַּעְיָן כְּשֵׁרָה לְמַלְּאוֹת מִמֶּנָּה. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּשְׁמְרֶנָּה שֶׁלֹּא יִפְסְקֶנָּה אָדָם וְנִמְצָא מְמַלֵּא מִן הַמַּיִם שֶׁפָּסְקוּ תְּחִלָּתָן מִן הַמַּעְיָן שֶׁהֵן פְּסוּלִין: