The intricacies of animal husbandry and care are not something one would immediately suspect rabbis and scholars of Jewish law to be particularly engaged with.
But the Temple Institute, a religious educational and activist group dedicated to preparing for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, has recently partnered with an Israeli cattleman to raise a red heifer, a cow suitable for use in important Temple rituals as described by the Torah.
One of the most arcane stipulations of Jewish law is that in order to remove spiritual impurity acquired by contact with the dead, a prerequisite for service in the Temple, a cow that is entirely red and fulfills a variety of other stringent requirements must be slaughtered, its remains burnt to ash and then sprinkled over someone who has become ritually impure, and thereby purifying him in the process.
The Temple Institute, which has constructed many of the different vessels required for use in the Temple, explained the purpose of the project as yet another step in what it hopes will be the construction of the Third Temple and the messianic age that accompanies it.
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