Audio by Michael Sokolow

Mishnah Parah 3:2: There were courtyards in Jerusalem built on rock and below them was hollow because of graves of the deep. [Stepping over a human grave causes ritually impurity, which can be blocked by a sufficiently wide space between the body and the covering; by building a courtyard over a hollow, one guarantees that any graves which are too deep to be discovered can not make people in the courtyard above impure.] They would bring pregnant women to there [these courtyards], and they would give birth there and raise their children there [to ensure that the children never become ritually impure]. They would bring oxen and on their backs slats [literally: doors] and the children would sit on top of them with stone cups in their hands. When they reached the Shiloach [stream], they would descend and fill [the cups], and remount and sit atop them. Rabbi Yose says: From his place [atop the oxen] one would lower and fill [his cup].

חֲצֵרוֹת הָיוּ בִירוּשָׁלַיִם בְּנוּיוֹת עַל גַּבֵּי סֶלַע וְתַחְתֵּיהֶם חָלוּל, מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וּמְבִיאִים נָשִׁים עֻבָּרוֹת וְיוֹלְדוֹת שָׁם וּמְגַדְּלוֹת שָׁם אֶת בְּנֵיהֶן. וּמְבִיאִים שְׁוָרִים וְעַל גַּבֵּיהֶן דְּלָתוֹת, וְתִינוֹקוֹת יוֹשְׁבִין עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן וְכוֹסוֹת שֶׁל אֶבֶן בְּיָדָם. הִגִּיעוּ לַשִּׁלּוֹחַ, יָרְדוּ וּמִלְאוּם, וְעָלוּ וְיָשְׁבוּ עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, מִמְּקוֹמוֹ הָיָה מְשַׁלְשֵׁל וּמְמַלֵּא:

Mishnah Parah 3:3: They [the children] would come to the temple mount and descend [from the oxen]. The temple mount and the temple courtyards underneaths were hollow due to the graves of deep [so that they temple service should be done in purity]. At the entrance to the temple courtyard there was a stone jug containing [the ashes] of a chatat [red heifer], and they would bring a male sheep and tie a rope between its horns, and tie a stick with branches at the top of the rope, and throw [the stick] into the jug, and hit the male [sheep] such that it would jump backwards [pulling the stick out of the jar and scattering some ashes], and he [the child] would take the [scattered] ashes and sanctify [them by mixing them with the water in the cup], an amount such that the ashes may be seen on the surface of the water. Rabbi Yose says: Do not give the Saducees [a second-temple-era sect who only believed in the validity of the written Torah and not the oral Torah] room to rebel [i.e. to make fun of us]; rather, he [the child] would remove [the ashes from the jug himself] and sanctify [them by mixing them with water].

בָּאוּ לְהַר הַבַּיִת וְיָרְדוּ. הַר הַבַּיִת וְהָעֲזָרוֹת, תַּחְתֵּיהֶם חָלוּל, מִפְּנֵי קֶבֶר הַתְּהוֹם. וּבְפֶתַח הָעֲזָרָה הָיָה מְתֻקָּן קָלָל שֶׁל חַטָּאת, וּמְבִיאִין זָכָר שֶׁל רְחֵלִים וְקוֹשְׁרִים חֶבֶל בֵּין קַרְנָיו, וְקוֹשְׁרִים מַקֵּל וּמְסַבֵּךְ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁל חֶבֶל, וְזוֹרְקוֹ לְתוֹךְ הַקָּלָל, וּמַכֶּה אֶת הַזָּכָר וְנִרְתָּע לַאֲחוֹרָיו, וְנוֹטֵל וּמְקַדֵּשׁ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּתְּנוּ מָקוֹם לַצְּדוֹקִים לִרְדּוֹת, אֶלָּא הוּא נוֹטֵל וּמְקַדֵּשׁ:

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