The Temple Institute has been working to reinstate the red heifer ceremony since 2015, and recently, a pro-Israel Christian organization decided to help out.
The Temple Institute launched its Red Heifer program about a decade ago, but even in Temple times, an animal that fulfilled the Biblical requirements was exceedingly rare. Failing to produce a suitable candidate from ranchers in Israel, The Temple Institute began investigating alternative sources for a red heifer.
Last year, the Temple Institute was contacted by a cattle farmer in Commanche, Texas, who informed them that five red calves had been born on his ranch, about two and a half hours travel from Dallas. Normally, calves are ear-tagged when just a few days old. By a remarkable coincidence, these five calves were not tagged, and, also coincidentally, all were female.
Any blemish disqualifies the calf, and a hole in the ear is just such a blemish. The farmer explained that because of COVID, the employee who normally puts in the tags did not come to the farm when these five calves were born.
A team of rabbis from the Temple Institute flew out to inspect the calves. The requirements are incredibly demanding, requiring that there be no more than two non-red hairs on the entire calf. It must also never have been used for any labor or have been impregnated.
The heifer must be two years and one day old to be suitable for the ceremony. Sometimes, a calf that is perfectly red when it is young develops black or white hairs as it grows older or may develop a blemish. Sometimes, the colored hairs fall out or disappear. The Temple Institute decided to reinspect the calf at a later date.
Two of the five untagged Heifers were extremely close to passing. One heifer had a very small white spot. Otherwise, it was perfect. The other had some hairs that could be red or black. So the search continued. But Boneh Israel, an organization that connects Christian lovers of Israel to the Holy Land, stepped in.
Based in Texas, Boneh Israel understood ranchers. They took out full-page ads in ranching magazines, explaining the situation to ranchers. They requested that any red calves be set aside. Byron Stinson, a team leader in America for Boneh Israel. READ MORE