20 Tammuz 5775
First, a little translation: pasul/p'sulah פסול\פסולה means invalid, unacceptable.
I have been following the story of the all-red, Highlander/Black Angus heifer from Herb Celler's farm in Howell, NJ since this story broke January 14, 2015. Over 35,000 people, including many rabbis, have gone to examine her for her qualifications as a potential Red Heifer. I even have a picture of her on my computer.
It seems that one very important thing was overlooked, and it came out in the news last Friday: The two-year-old cow is now what farmers call a first-calf heifer — meaning she's now a mommy, which disqualifies her as a potential 10th Parah Adumah. To make matters worse, in terms of what would have been this all-important milestone, the calf is black, like its dam's parents, so it (the article doesn't specify its gender) cannot replace its mother as the new potential Red Cow.
At least I can be happy for the cow. She gets to live a happy, normal life at Mr. Celler's homestead (and a name, too, I hope). Mazal tov on the new baby, and may they both be healthy!
Although I am happy for the addition of a new bovine — and admittedly I have never had a farm or been a farmer — I imagine one thing that might occur to a cow owner in this situation to do, as a matter of course, is a pregnancy check. Even though Mr. Celler made a point to tell his hired hands not to touch this cow and not make her work, he certainly couldn't have informed the bull(s) not to go near her!
The saddest and most embarrassing part of this whole episode is that it looks as though she was pregnant (in calf, as it's called) the entire time period that she was gaining so much attention. (Cows, similar to human beings, have approximately 9-month gestations.) It brings to mind that we Jews, as we progress from exile mode to redemption mode, need to become more aware of the life cycles of the animals that are mentioned in our holy books, particularly those with as much importance as the Red Cow. Even if we don't farm for a living.
As we approach the end, we must hang on to our emunah and not despair. As fast as this cow came and went, another can arise. HaShem still holds the key to childbirth - of man and animal alike.
Next time, for sure? Maybe. With G-d's help.
Oh, by the way, welcome to my new blog.
For more about the Red Heifer, see The Temple Institute's The Mystery of the Red Heifer: Divine Promise of Purity.
In case you're wondering where I get my bovine information, check out the Keeping A Family Cow Forum.