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« Parashat Korach: The Wrong Way to Challenge | Main | Parashat Balak: Changing the Viewing Angle »

June 17, 2010

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My first thought is of the people who stay with the deceased, pray and wash the body until the time of burial.

These people would have to have a lot of red heiffers to slaughter and burn between taking care of human corpses. Also, they would be deemed unclean from one week to the next.....Perhaps they wouldn't want to do that work anymore because of that law.

My first thought as well was of the cheyra kadisha. My thinking is perhaps a little of the water/heifer ash blend goes a long way. If only a little must be sprinkled on the "impure" bodywashers, then as soon as they are done with the task they can be sprinkled with the water/ash blend and immediately again become pure. I am assuming if you are burning a heifer down to ash, you are going to be mixing A LOT of water with the ash afterwards so you wouldn't need to do it again for a while. However that ashwater is stored, I would imagine the chevra kadisha would have quite a bit of it available to them, as they are the primary people responsible for handling the dead (also medical staff).

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