How is the water sanctified with the ashes of the red heifer? One should place the water that was drawn for this purpose in a container and then place ashes on the water so that they will be seen on the surface of the water. This is sufficient even though it is a large barrel filled with water. He should then mix the entire contents. If he placed the ashes in the container first and then placed the water upon them, it is disqualified.

What then is meant by the Torah's statement Numbers 19:17: "And he shall place living water upon it"? That the ash should be mixed with the water.


כֵּיצַד מְקַדְּשִׁין אֶת הַמַּיִם בְּאֵפֶר הַפָּרָה. נוֹתֵן אֶת הַמַּיִם שֶׁנִּתְמַלְּאוּ לְשֵׁם מֵי חַטָּאת בַּכְּלִי וְנוֹתֵן אֵפֶר עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא חָבִית גְּדוֹלָה מְלֵאָה מַיִם. וּמְעָרֵב הַכּל. וְאִם נָתַן הָאֵפֶר תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָתַן עָלָיו הַמַּיִם פָּסַל. וּמַהוּ זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (במדבר יט יז) "וְנָתַן עָלָיו מַיִם חַיִּים". כְּדֵי לְעָרֵב אֶת הָאֵפֶר בַּמַּיִם:


A person sanctifying must focus his concentration. He must cast the ashes on the water by hand. These concepts are implied by the phrase ibid.: "And he shall take for the impure person...." The latter words indicate that he must have a specific intent while sanctifying, drawing, and sprinkling.

Thus if the ashes of the red heifer fell from the container holding them into the water, he took the ashes with his hand, but then a friend or the wind thrust him and the ashes fell from his hand onto the water, or the ashes fell from his hand onto the side of the container or onto his hand and then onto the water, the water is disqualified,


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּתְכַּוֵּן וְיִתֶּן הָאֵפֶר בְּיָדוֹ עַל הַמַּיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט יז) "וְלָקְחוּ לַטָּמֵא" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מִתְכַּוֵּן לְקִדּוּשׁ וּלְמִלּוּי וּלְהַזָּיָה. אֲבָל אִם נָפַל הָאֵפֶר מִן הַכְּלִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ הָאֵפֶר לְתוֹךְ הַמַּיִם. אוֹ שֶׁנָּטַל הָאֵפֶר בְּיָדוֹ וּדְחָפוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ הָרוּחַ וְנָפַל הָאֵפֶר מִיָּדוֹ עַל הַמַּיִם. אוֹ שֶׁנָּפַל הָאֵפֶר מִיָּדוֹ עַל צַד הַכְּלִי אוֹ עַל יָדוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָפַל לַמַּיִם הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל:


If one sanctified an amount of water insufficient for sprinkling in one container and sanctified another amount of water insufficient for sprinkling in another container, they are not sanctified. If the ashes were floating on the surface of the water and one gathered some from above and sanctified other water with it, it is sanctified. By contrast, any ashes that touched the water may not be used to sanctify water again even if they were dried. Indeed, even if ashes were blown onto water by the wind they may not be dried and used to sanctify other water.


קִדֵּשׁ פָּחוֹת מִכְּדֵי הַזָּאָה בִּכְלִי זֶה וּפָחוֹת מִכְּדֵי הַזָּאָה בִּכְלִי אַחֵר לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ. הָיָה הָאֵפֶר צָף עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם וְכָנַס מִמֶּנּוּ מִלְּמַעְלָה וְקִדֵּשׁ בּוֹ מַיִם אֲחֵרִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְקֻדָּשִׁין. וְכָל שֶׁנָּגַע בַּמַּיִם אֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין בּוֹ פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּגְּבוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נָשְׁבָה הָרוּחַ וְנָתְנָה אֶת הָאֵפֶר עַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּיִם אֵינוֹ מְנַגְּבוֹ וּמְקַדֵּשׁ בּוֹ:


The following rules apply when there was a small container placed inside a large container, they were both filled with water drawn for the ashes of the red heifer, and their waters were intermingled. When one placed ashes on the water in the large container, all of the water in the small container became sanctified even though its opening is very narrow and no ashes entered there. The rationale is that the waters were intermingled.


כְּלִי קָטָן שֶׁהָיָה בְּתוֹךְ כְּלִי גָּדוֹל וְהֵן מְלֵאִין מַיִם וְהַמַּיִם מְעֹרָבִין כֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּתַן הָאֵפֶר בַּמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי הַגָּדוֹל נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ כָּל הַמַּיִם שֶׁבְּתוֹךְ הַכְּלִי הַקָּטָן. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה פִּיו צַר בְּיוֹתֵר וְלֹא נִכְנַס לוֹ אֵפֶר שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמַּיִם כֻּלָּן מְעֹרָבִין:


When there was a sponge in the water at the time one placed the ashes upon it, the water in the sponge is disqualified because it is not in a container.

What should the person do to remove the water? He should pour off all the water until he reaches the sponge, but should not touch the sponge. If he touches the sponge, no matter how much water is above it, all of the water is disqualified, because the water in the sponge is released and mixes with the acceptable water.

If a sponge falls into sanctified water, one should take it and squeeze it outside the container and the water in the container remains acceptable.


הָיָה סְפוֹג בְּתוֹךְ הַמַּיִם בְּעֵת שֶׁנָּתַן הָאֵפֶר הֲרֵי הַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּסְּפוֹג פְּסוּלִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָן בַּכְּלִי. כֵּיצַד יַעֲשֶׂה. זוֹלֵף אֶת כָּל הַמַּיִם עַד שֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לַסְּפוֹג וְלֹא יִגַּע בַּסְּפוֹג. וְאִם נָגַע בַּסְּפוֹג אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַמַּיִם צָפִין עַל גַּבָּיו כָּל שֶׁהֵן פְּסוּלִין. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּסְּפוֹג יוֹצְאִין וּמִתְעָרְבִין בַּמַּיִם הַכְּשֵׁרִין. נָפַל סְפוֹג לְתוֹךְ הַמַּיִם הַמְקֻדָּשִׁין נוֹטְלוֹ וְסוֹחֲטוֹ חוּץ לַכְּלִי וְהַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי כְּשֵׁרִין:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


When there are two adjacent troughs in one stone and ashes were placed into one of them, the water in the other is not sanctified. When there was a hole the size of a mouthpiece of a leather drinking pouch connecting the two or there was a layer of water even as thin as a garlic peel connecting them from above, if one placed the ashes into one, the water in the second is sanctified.


שְׁתֵּי שְׁקָתוֹת שֶׁבְּאֶבֶן אַחַת שֶׁנָּתַן אֶת הָאֵפֶר לְתוֹךְ אַחַת מֵהֵן אֵין הַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּשְּׁנִיָּה מְקֻדָּשִׁין. וְאִם הָיוּ נְקוּבוֹת זוֹ לְזוֹ כִּשְׁפוֹפֶרֶת הַנּוֹד אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ הַמַּיִם צָפִין עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן אֲפִלּוּ כִּקְלִפַּת הַשּׁוּם וְנָתַן אֵפֶר לְאַחַת מֵהֵן הֲרֵי הַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּשְּׁנִיָּה מְקֻדָּשִׁין:


When two stones are placed together to form a trough, two kneading troughs are placed together, or a stone trough was divided and then the two portions held together, were the ashes of the red heifer to be placed in one, the water between them is not sanctified. If the two entities were connected with lime or with plaster and they could be carried as one, the water between them is sanctified.


שְׁתֵּי אֲבָנִים שֶׁהִקִּיפָן זוֹ לְזוֹ וַעֲשָׂאָן שֹׁקֶת וְכֵן שְׁתֵּי עֲרֵבוֹת. וְכֵן שֹׁקֶת שֶׁנֶּחְלְקָה וְנָתַן אֵפֶר בְּחֵלֶק אֶחָד מֵהֶן. הַמַּיִם שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן אֵינָן מְקֻדָּשִׁין. וְאִם חִבְּרָן בְּסִיד אוֹ בְּגַפְסִיס וְהֵם יְכוֹלוֹת לְהִנָּטֵל כְּאַחַת הַמַּיִם שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן מְקֻדָּשִׁין:


When even the smallest amount of other water - even water that was drawn for the sake of the ashes of the red heifer - becomes mixed with sanctified water, it is disqualified. Similarly, if dew descends into such water, it is disqualified. If other liquids or fruit juices fall into it, the entire quantity should be poured out. The container must be dried; only afterwards can other sanctified water be placed in it.

If ink, black earth, or dark earth, or any entity that leaves a mark falls into such water, it must be poured out, but there is no need to dry the container. The rationale is that if any portion of the entity that leaves a mark will remain, it will be apparent.


מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ בָּהֶן מַיִם אֲחֵרִים כָּל שֶׁהוּא אֲפִלּוּ מַיִם שֶׁנִּתְמַלְּאוּ לְקִדּוּשׁ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין. וְכֵן אִם יָרַד לְתוֹכָן טַל הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין. נָפַל לְתוֹכָן מַשְׁקִין וּמֵי פֵּרוֹת יְעָרֶה הַכּל וְצָרִיךְ לְנַגֵּב הַכְּלִי וְאַחַר כֵּן יִתֵּן לְתוֹכוֹ מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין אֲחֵרִים. נָפַל לְתוֹכָן דְּיוֹ קוֹמוֹס וְקַנְקַנְתּוֹם וְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא רוֹשֵׁם יְעָרֶה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְנַגֵּב. שֶׁאִם יִשָּׁאֵר שָׁם דָּבָר הָרוֹשֵׁם הֲרֵי הוּא נִרְאֶה:


When a person immerses a container for water for the ashes of the red heifer in water that is not fit to be sanctified, he must dry it before he sanctifies other water in it. If he immersed it in water that is fit to be sanctified, he does not have to dry out the container. If, however, he immersed it with the intent of using it to hold sanctified water, he must dry it in any case.


הַמַּטְבִּיל כְּלִי לְחַטָּאת בְּמַיִם שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיִין לְקַדֵּשׁ צָרִיךְ לְנַגֵּב וְאַחַר כָּךְ יְקַדֵּשׁ בּוֹ. הִטְבִּילוֹ בְּמַיִם הָרְאוּיִין לְקַדֵּשׁ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְנַגֵּב. וְאִם הִטְבִּילוֹ לֶאֱסֹף בּוֹ מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ צָרִיךְ לְנַגֵּב:


When a gourd was immersed in water that was fit to be sanctified, one may sanctify water in it. But one may not collect water that has already been sanctified with the ashes in it. The rationale is that the water in which it was immersed becomes absorbed in its substance; afterwards, it emerges, becomes mixed with the sanctified water, and disqualifies it.

If it became impure, even if it was immersed, we do not sanctify water in it. The rationale is that impure water is absorbed in its substance. It will flow out and become mixed with the water that is being sanctified in it.


קֵרוּיָה שֶׁהִטְבִּילָהּ בְּמַיִם הָרְאוּיִין לְקַדֵּשׁ מְקַדְּשִׁין בָּהּ. אֲבָל אֵין אוֹסְפִין לְתוֹכָהּ מֵי חַטָּאת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּיִם שֶׁהֻטְבְּלָה בָּהֶן נִבְלָעִים בְּתוֹכָהּ וְיוֹצְאִין וּמִתְעָרְבִין בְּמֵי חַטָּאת וּפוֹסְלִין אוֹתָן. נִטְמֵאת וְהִטְבִּילוּהָ אֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין בָּהּ שֶׁהַמַּשְׁקִין הַטְּמֵאִין הַנִּבְלָעִין בְּגוּפָהּ יֵצְאוּ וְיִתְעָרְבוּ בַּמַּיִם שֶׁמְּקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתָן בְּתוֹכָהּ:


When crawling animals or teeming animals fell into water that was sanctified and broke open or caused its color to change, the water is disqualified. This applies even if they were very dry like an ant, moth, or louse that is found in grain. If he placed beetles in such water, it is disqualified even if they did not break open or cause the color of the water to change. The rationale is that they are like tubes and the water enters their body and departs from it, mixed with their body fluids.


מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין שֶׁנָּפַל לְתוֹכָן שְׁקָצִים וּרְמָשִׂים וְנִתְבַּקְּעוּ אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנּוּ מַרְאֵיהֶן פְּסוּלִין. אַפִּילוּ הָיוּ יְבֵשִׁים בְּיוֹתֵר כְּגוֹן הַנְּמָלָה וְהָרִירָה וְהַכִּנָּה שֶׁבַּתְּבוּאָה. נָתַן לְתוֹכָהּ חִפּוּשִׁין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְבַּקְּעוּ וְלֹא נִשְׁתַּנּוּ מַרְאֵיהֶן הֲרֵי הַמַּיִם פְּסוּלִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא כִּשְׁפוֹפֶרֶת וְהַמַּיִם נִכְנָסִין בְּתוֹכָהּ וְיוֹצְאִין מִתּוֹכָהּ עִם הַלֵּחָה שֶׁבָּהּ:


When a domesticated or wild animal drinks from sanctified water, the water is disqualified. Similarly, all birds disqualify it with the exception of a dove, because it sucks water and saliva does not flow from its mouth and become mixed in the water. Similarly, if any of the crawling animals drink from sanctified water, they do not disqualify it with the exception of the mole. It licks the water with its tongue and thus moisture will be released from its mouth into the water.


מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין שֶׁשָּׁתָה מֵהֶן בְּהֵמָה אוֹ חַיָּה פְּסוּלִין. וְכֵן כָּל הָעוֹפוֹת פְּסוּלִין חוּץ מִן הַיּוֹנָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מוֹצֶצֶת וְאֵין רִיר יוֹצֵא מִפִּיהָ וּמִתְעָרֵב בַּמַּיִם. וְכֵן כָּל הַשְּׁרָצִים שֶׁשָּׁתוּ אֵינָן פּוֹסְלִין חוּץ מִן הַחֻלְדָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מְלַקֶּקֶת בִּלְשׁוֹנָהּ וְנִמְצֵאת הַלֵּחָה יוֹצְאָה מִפִּיהָ לַמַּיִם:


When the appearance of water sanctified with the ashes of the red heifer changes without any external cause, it is acceptable. If it changes color because of smoke, it is disqualified. If it froze and then melted, it is acceptable, even if it melted in the sun. If, however, it was melted by fire, it is disqualified.


מֵי חַטָּאת שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנּוּ מַרְאֵיהֶן מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָן כְּשֵׁרִים. נִשְׁתַּנּוּ מֵחֲמַת עָשָׁן פְּסוּלִין. הִגְלִידוּ וְחָזְרוּ וְנִמּוֹחוּ כְּשֵׁרִים אֲפִלּוּ נִמּוֹחוּ בַּחַמָּה אֲבָל אִם הִמְחָן בָּאוּר פְּסוּלִין:


When the appearance of the ashes of the red heifer changed without any external cause or because of smoke, they are acceptable. If their appearance changed because of dust, because lime or gypsum fell into them, or because even the slightest amount of oven ash fell into them, they are disqualified.


אֵפֶר חַטָּאת שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנּוּ מַרְאָיו מֵחֲמַת עַצְמוֹ אוֹ מֵחֲמַת עָשָׁן כָּשֵׁר. נִשְׁתַּנּוּ מֵחֲמַת אָבָק אוֹ שֶׁנָּפַל לְתוֹכוֹ סִיד אוֹ גַּפְסִיס אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בּוֹ אֵפֶר מַקְלֶה כָּל שֶׁהוּא הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל:


When a person thinks about drinking water sanctified with the ashes of the red heifer, he does not disqualify it until he actually drinks from it. If he poured from the container directly to his throat without his lips touching the water in the container, he does not disqualify it.


הַחוֹשֵׁב עַל מֵי חַטָּאת לִשְׁתּוֹתָן לֹא פְּסָלָן עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁתֶּה מֵהֶן. וְאִם שָׁפַךְ מִן הַכְּלִי לְתוֹךְ גְּרוֹנוֹ וְלֹא נָגְעָה שְׂפָתוֹ בַּמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי לֹא פָּסַל:


When a container in which the water for the ashes of the red heifer had been placed was left open and then one discovered it closed, the water is disqualified. We suspect that maybe a person who had not purified himself for dealing with the water for the ashes of the red heifer touched it, for it is certain that a person covered it.

The following rules apply if one left it covered and found it open. If a mole could have drunk from it or dew could have descended upon it at night, it is disqualified. If not, it is acceptable. The rationale is that two undeterminable factors are involved. It is unknown whether it was uncovered by a person or a domesticated animal, wild animal, or crawling animal. And if you would say that it was uncovered by a person, it is unknown whether he was pure with regard to the water of the ashes of the red heifer.


כְּלִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין שֶׁהִנִּיחוֹ מְגֻלֶּה וּבָא וּמְצָאוֹ מְכֻסֶּה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין שֶׁמָּא אָדָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ טָהוֹר לְחַטָּאת נָגַע בָּהֶן שֶׁהֲרֵי אָדָם כִּסָּהוּ בְּוַדַּאי. הִנִּיחוֹ מְכֻסֶּה וּבָא וּמְצָאוֹ מְגֻלֶּה אִם יְכוֹלָה הַחֻלְדָּה לִשְׁתּוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ אוֹ שֶׁיָּרַד לוֹ טַל בַּלַּיְלָה פְּסוּלִין וְאִם לָאו כְּשֵׁרִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ כָּאן שְׁתֵּי סְפֵקוֹת סָפֵק אָדָם גִּלָּה אוֹ בְּהֵמָה חַיָּה וָרֶמֶשׂ וְאִם תִּמְצֵי לוֹמַר אָדָם גִּלָּהוּ שֶׁמָּא הָיָה טָהוֹר לְחַטָּאת אוֹ לֹא:


When a person transfers sanctified water or water that was drawn to be sanctified to an impure person to watch, the water is disqualified.


הַמּוֹסֵר מַיִם מְקֻדָּשִׁין אוֹ מַיִם שֶׁנִּתְמַלְּאוּ לְקִדּוּשׁ לְטָמֵא לְשָׁמְרָן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין:


When two people are watching water and one becomes impure, the water is still acceptable, because it is in the domain of the other watchman. If the first purified himself and the other watchman became impure, it is acceptable because the water is in the domain of the first. If they both became impure at once, the water is disqualified.


שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהָיוּ שׁוֹמְרִין אֶת הַמַּיִם וְנִטְמָא אֶחָד מֵהֶן כְּשֵׁרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ שֶׁל שֵׁנִי. טָהַר וְחָזַר לִשְׁמֹר וְנִטְמָא הַשֵּׁנִי כְּשֵׁרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹן. נִטְמְאוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן כְּאַחַת הַמַּיִם פְּסוּלִין: