The Shabbat before the festival of Passover is known as Shabbat Parah, “Shabbat of the Heifer.” This is because when the temple was standing, the largest pilgrimage festival was Passover. Those who traveled to Jerusalem for this celebration would often need to be purified from corpse defilement. This can only be done through the ashes of the red heifer. Therefore it has become traditional to read Numbers 19:1-22. In these notes Tim Hegg looks at this passage and investigates the various views of Israel’s pilgrimage during Passover.
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