Sunday, July 06, 2014

How many people can a פרה אדומה be מטהר? Part 2

In my previous post I asked about the strange distribution of פרה אדומה 8 in the period of the second בית המקדש and only 1 from Moshe to Ezra.

The ערוך לנר (Succah 21a) offers an answer explaining why there were so many in the second בית המקדש. He posits that פרה אדומה are very rare, it is very hard to find an animal that meets all the criteria. Therefore he says that whenever they did find one they used it even if they did not need the ashes. In other words, the reason why there were 7 פרה אדומה during the time of the second בית המקדש is that 7 suitable animals were found. If more animals had been found there would have been more, if less animals had been found there would have been less. The פרה אדומה were not done specifically out of need.

However, this does not explain the period from Moshe to Ezra:
1. How could 1 פרה אדומה last for 800 years?
2. Why didn't they make more פרה אדומה even if they didn't need them like they did in the second בית המקדש? It is logical to assume that פרה אדומה were as rare in that period as they were in the period of the second בית המקדש and therefore whenever they discovered a suitable animal they should have used it.


madaral said...

Parah Adumah is an invention of the Cohanim of the second Beit Hamikdash. The one from Moshe till Ezra is actually zero. Saying one is the politically correct way of saying zero.

Danny Schoemann said...

I think it may have to do with the various Takanot of the Perushim - which caused the Para Aduma waters to frequently become Possul.

Prior to the Churban these Takanot were not in place yet, making it harder to passel the water and a huge vat which requires a few flakes of ashes could last a very long time.