The Temple Institute on Monday announced a new initiative to identify, select and register kohanim who would be eligible to prepare the Red Heifer, as part of reinstating worship at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem when it is rebuilt.
In launching the registration program, the Temple Institute is moving to the second stage of its project to restore the concept of Biblical purity.
"Even before the Temple is rebuilt, the reinstatement of halakhically (according to Jewish law - ed.) approved kohanim is a pre-requisite for preparation of the Red Heifer which will enable the people of Israel to perform numerous Torah-based commandments, such as challah and terumah, according to the Torah's true intentions," said the organization in a statement.
There are complex requirements for members of the priestly lineage to be eligible to take part in the preparation of the Red Heifer, and rabbis and scholars at the Temple Institute have been intensely researching the subject for many years.
Potential kohanim candidates must have been born in Israel to a father of kohanic lineage, leading back to Aharon (Aaron) from the Torah, and they must have avoided exposure to the Biblical impurity rendered by death.
"This includes those who were not born in hospital and who have not visited hospitals or cemeteries," notes the Temple Institute.
"Those kohanim whose status can be verified will be eligible to be among the first to participate in the renewal of numerous Torah commandments, including the preparation of the Red Heifer, once a suitable candidate is found."
Temple Institute director Rabbi Chaim Richman welcomed the historic move, saying, "this is a huge jump for the Temple Institute and a huge leap for the Jewish people. For the first time in 2,000 years after miraculously returning to the Land of Israel we are beginning the process of reinstating the Biblical purity of the Jewish priesthood."
"This is another bold move for our Institute, having already painstakingly prepared over 60 sacred vessels in preparation for the Third Temple. We proudly call upon all those who may fit the bill to contact the Temple Institute immediately," concluded the rabbi.