The Red Heifer

This purification ritual contains a puzzling paradox.

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Modern preachers have used the paradox that those engaged in purification become themselves defiled to point out that often those who work for a good cause justify even ignoble means to achieve their purpose and become spiritually defiled in the process.

The section of the Torah dealing with the parah adumah is read on the Sabbath before the month of Nisan as a reminder of Temple times when this portion was read to warn those contaminated to purify themselves in readiness for the offering of the Paschal lamb on the festival of Passover. This Sabbath is called: 'the Sabbath of Parah.'

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.