This week's parsha teaches us all about the Parah Adumah and how it can purify a person.

Namely, that in order for a person who was ritually impure via a dead body to become pure, said person would have to have to be sprinkled with mei chatas- ie water with Parah Adumah ashes in it (Rambam Sefer HaMitzvot, Positive Commandment #113).

A couple questions:

  • 1) Is there a minimum requirement for the amount of Parah Adumah ashes that must be in the mei chatas?

  • 2) What's the minimum requirement for the amount of water sprinkled that will purify a person?

    • What's the d'oraisa source for #1 and #2? (ie gezeiras hakasuv, drasha, halacha l'moshe misinai etc)

1 Answer 1


Some say that there is a minimum amount something must be sprinkled (Zevachim 80a), but even they would agree that this applies to vessels, not people (Yoma 14a, Nidah 9a).

Parah 12:5

כַּמָּה יְהֵא בַמַּיִם וְיִהְיֶה בָהֶם כְּדֵי הַזָּיָה. כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּטְבִּיל רָאשֵׁי גִבְעוֹלִין וְיַזֶּה.

How much water is necessary for sprinkling? Sufficient for the tops of the buds to be dipped and for the sprinkling to be performed.

Rambam on Mishnah, Peah 1:1:

הראיון. הוא דברי הכתוב יראה כל זכורך (דברים ט״ז:ט״ז) ואמ' ולא יראה את פני ה' ריקם (שם) ואיננו קוצב כמה שיעור הקרבנות אשר יקריב בעלותו ועוד יתבאר זה במסכת חגיגה (פ"ק ז.) ויש עוד דברים אחרים שאין להם שיעור כגון עפר סוטה ורוק יבמה ואפר פרה ודם צפור המצורע ואולם לא ספרם כי אע"פ שערכם נכבד אין בהם תוספת שכר ואלה שספר בכאן כפי שיוסיף בהן יהיה תוספת שכרו:

Sotah 16b

כדי שיראה על המים תנו רבנן שלשה צריכין שיראו עפר סוטה ואפר פרה ורוק יבמה משום רבי ישמעאל אמרו אף דם צפור

Three items are required to be seen: The dust of the sota must be visible in the water, the ashes of the red heifer must be visible when placed in the waters of purification, and the spittle of a woman whose husband, who has a brother, died childless [yevama] must be visible. The yavam, brother-in-law of the yevama, is bound by Torah law to marry her, and this bond is dissolved through the ritual of ḥalitza, in which she spits before him in the presence of judges. In the name of Rabbi Yishmael they said: Even the blood of the bird used in a leper’s purification ritual is required to be visible in the vessel. (Sefaria)

See Rambam Hilchos Parah Adumah 9:1 too.


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