Tuesday, June 15, 2021

What colour was the פרה אדומה?


                   What colour was the פרה אדומה?


We find in the Torah and Chazal, the colour “אדום” can be translated
a) the actual red colour (red wine)
b) the red family, colour (brown, orange etc.)

(Bereishis 25 : 30)
הלעיטני נא מן האדום האדום הזה It is called red lentils, but its colour is brown.

(Zecharya 1:8)
איש רוכב על סוס אדום - סוסים אדומים – (A man riding on a red horse-red horses) There are no red horses. There are brown horses.
s(Succah 35b)
An Esrog that was peeled and looks like a red date. Rashi explains, "All peeled fruits נהפך לאדמימות" (turn red). Peeled or cut fruits turn brown not red.

(Bechoros 6a Rashi)
סתם סוסים אדומים (horses are usually red) Never heard of red horses

There are no red wine coloured cows and probably never was. Probably the colour of a פרה אדומה was not
red but it was brown.

The uniqueness of theפרה אדומה was not that it was red. It was unique by being completely brown, not having two strands of hair in a different colour other than brown.(white-black)   

One might argue and claim it still needs to be a certain shade of brown (orange or light brown etc,) However, we don't find in the Rambam etc. qualifying what shade of אדום is כשר. If we assume אדומה is brown there is no reason to insist it to be a specific shade.

Perhaps we can assume it wasn't a "red heifer" but a "brown cow"     

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