This question links to a post from the Temple Institute that mentions that a red heifer was born in Israel in 2002 and that a couple of rabbis had traveled to check the cow and verified that it was indeed kosher to serve as a parah aduma. What properties were the rabbis looking for in their verification, and how rigorous is the vetting process?

  • Most likely the proximity of white hairs to each other, or the existence of white hairs according to one opinion. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 18:56
  • @YeZ probably also whatever evidence they can get regarding wither it had ever carried anything, right?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:40
  • @IsaacMoses depending on who they were purchasing it from, they might just ask him. If it carried does not necessarily invalidate it - it had to be לרצון בעלים, IIRC. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


Mishnah Parah 2:5

היו בה שתי שערות לבנות או שחורות, בתוך גומה אחת, או בתוך שתי כוסות והן מוכיחות זו על זו--פסולה.

If it has 2 white or black hairs within one "depression," or within two "cups" in such a way that they clearly go together, it is invalid.

The Mishna goes on to discuss other details, such as if the roots are red.

Among other details, this would be a primary criterion to check, as the red hair is the defining feature of the red heifer.

  • But what is "red"?
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:06
  • 2
    @Daniel It's a color. If you want to know how they defined red for the purposes of parah aduma, you could ask that, but I think it's a separate question. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 20:19

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