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Tevul Yom and the Red Heifer: Pharisaic and Sadducean Halakah

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Both the Qumran scrolls and the rabbinic sources teach of a controversy between the Pharisees, on the one hand, and the Sadducees and the Qumran sect, on the other, concerning the standing of the red heifer: The Sadducees, considering the red heifer as a sacrifice, held that a tevul yom was not permitted to deal with the heifer, whereas the Pharisees, not considering the red heifer as a sacrifice, held that a tevul yom was permitted to deal with it. This controversy derived from the Pharisees' desire to enable the common people to participate as much as possible in divine worship: by not considering the red heifer as a sacrifice, they made it possible for the masses to participate in the preparation of the ashes and even to sprinkle it upon the impure; this was opposed by the Sadducees and the Qumran sectarians.

Affiliations: 1: Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, The Faculty of Humanities, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel


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