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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Chukat (July 1, 2017)
by Bettijane Eisenpreis

PARASHAT CHUKAT OPENS WITH THE LORD COMMANDING Moses and Aaron about the red cow, more commonly referred to as the “red heifer.” The command is detailed and specific. The heifer is to be “without blemish” and never to have borne a yoke. After he finds this perfect cow, the priest is to kill it, burn it and save its ashes to be used at some future time in the “water of lustration.” (“To lustrate,” the dictionary says, is “to purify by means of ceremony.”) The ceremony is usually for purification after contact with a corpse.

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