A retiree in West Virginia has discovered a red heifer, and by all appearances, the young and unique cow is suitable to clear the path for service in the Third Temple to begin.
Bill Shuff, a retired civil engineer from West Virginia, discovered the distinctive calf among a group of three his son had purchased. Two of the calves were young bulls and had ear tags. The third, a young heifer without an identifying ear-tag, caught Shuff’s eye because of its distinctive red coloring. Shuff learned about the Biblical commandment of the red heifer from Bible study at his interdenominational church and he immediately thought of these teachings when he saw the calf.
“I don’t know all the laws, but when I saw the heifer, I remembered it and wondered if this could be it,” Shuff told Breaking Israel News. There are no synagogues in his area and he did not know of any rabbis to consult, so Shuff contacted Breaking Israel News, sending images of the heifer.
“I would be thrilled if this could be used. I hope and pray the Temple will be rebuilt,” Shuff said. “It’s a very Christian thing, a House of Prayer for all Nations.”
The female calf, the product of a union between a female Red Angus and a Red Seminole male, was born last July. No patches of non-red color can be seen nor has she been bred, either of which would have disqualified the heifer. Also, the young bovine does not have an identifying ear-tag. Most calves bred in commercial farms have numbered tags clipped onto their ears in a process similar to the one used on humans for jewelry. This creates a hole in the ear, which is considered a blemish that disqualifies the heifer for Temple service.
The red heifer was used in Temple times to purify Jews from impurity caused by contact with or coming in the vicinity of a dead body. The ritual involved in creating the ashes from the red heifer is considered the most esoteric and inexplicable of all the Torah commandments. Because the elements needed for this ceremony have been lacking since the destruction of the Second Temple, all Jews today are considered ritually impure for this reason, thereby preventing the return of the Temple service. Red Heifer’s that fulfill all of the requirements are exceedingly rare and during the 1,000 years the two Temples stood in Jerusalem, only nine red heifers were used. According to Jewish tradition, the tenth red heifer will be used to usher in the Messiah.
His son was planning on breeding the young heifer, but Huff has urged him to wait until the cow’s status can be ascertained by rabbinic authorities. Breeding the heifer would render it unfit for use in the purification ceremony.
Last week, a similar red heifer was discovered by a Chabad rabbi in Baja, Mexico, though that red heifer had an ear-tag and seemed not to fulfill the requirements for Temple service.