THE MIKVEH 101:
Your Daily Hebrew...two new vocabulary words: tahara (purity) and tumah (impurity)--so, essentially, every time you're in a mikveh, you're performing a tahara. To cleanse off all the tumah. (Some Fridays, after a really long and frustrating week, I do this. Except my taharas also involve lavender-scented bubbles and lots and lots of wine.)
Mikveh water needs to come from natural sources. The mikveh itself can be man-made, but must use water from a natural source. Most Orthodox Jews still use mikvehs, but Reform and Reconstructionist Jews not really. In Orthodox communities, construction of the mikveh is typically done before building a new synagogue, and sometimes the old synagogue is sold just to pay for the building of the mikveh, it is THAT important. Because everything must be purified. In addition, Orthodox Jewish funeral homes also have mikvehs, so taharas (which also mean dead body purification rituals) can be performed.
To create a mikveh, rabbinical rules must be adhered to: the water has to come from a natural source--wells with natural water or lakes with naturally occurring springs as their sources, or even snow, ice, or hail as long as it melts in a certain manner. Rainwater can also be used, as long as it's not from riverbeds that constantly dry up since flowing rainwater doesn't count. Oh, and--oceans of the world? All natural sources of water, and so the next time you're paddling around the Gulf of Mexico or wherever? You're in one heck of a God-made mikveh.
A good mikveh must be deep enough to cover the entire body of an average-sized person, and there are all kinds of rules on how the water makes its way into the mikveh. It can't be pumped in by hand or carried there; it has to flow in from the source by gravity or natural pressure. Thus, most modern day, man-made mikvehs are filled with rainwater that's collected in cisterns, and the water is passed via a duct via gravity into the pool. After that, it can be topped with tap water, to get it up to suitable levels. And the water can also be heated, as long as certain rules are followed.
In other words, a mikveh is sorta kinda like a holy water spa.
Some other background on them:
You're required to take a mikvah after menstruation, nocturnal emissions (YOU know what I'm talking about guys), any weird bodily fluid discharges, weird skin conditions that pop up (i.e., leprosy, aka really bad psoriasis...dandruff? Don't know--probably), anyone coming into contact with a girl who's menstruating (but what about coming into contact with someone who's just had a nocturnal emission?!) (probably).
In addition, if you want to be a high priest? Must have a mikveh. If you're a high priest on Yom Kippur? You take a mikveh. If you eat meat from an animal that died naturally? Get thyself into a mikveh. If you touch a corpse or hang out in a grave? Mikveh for you, my friend.
Hey, guess who else needs to immerse themselves in a mikveh? Anybody who sacrifices, say, a red heifer.
Which segues me into the Red Heifer.
Here's why DIG (on USA!) is all about the cow.
Basically, there have been 2 Temples in Jerusalem. When I write about what I've learned about the Temple on the Mount, you'll understand better why the area the Dome of the Rock (site of Temple 2) currently occupies is very much like an atomic bomb.
In Hebrew, the red heifer is called the purah adumah. The thing about the Red Heifer is, it's not necessarily a prophecy (from what I've researched), though most people think of it as part of the End Times prophecy, because it so predominantly figures into it. It's more of something that someone said to do in the Old Testament, in Numbers, Chapter 19, 1-22:
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him; and Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer.
And then, after the sacrifice:
Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening.
And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening.
Then a man [who is] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store [them] outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin. And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening’” (vs. 1-9)
(source: Beyond Love)
Also I figured out why the color red is so predominantly featured in the show DIG: it was a special color, particularly for the priest's garments. Also featured on the breastplate of judgment (the Hashen).
More than all THAT, the red heifer may be connected to the gold calf--you remember, the one that got the Israelites in deep doo doo with Moses. And so then he had to go back up to Mt. Sinai and start the whole Commandment process all over again. (Awkward!) At any rate, the whole reason behind the the creation/invention of the mikveh/purification thing was that golden calf.
So when Solomon built the first Temple, there were very strict purification rituals that were observed while building, because essentially, this is where God would live. God's swank pad, if you will.
When Temple #1 was built, fragrant incense was burned, continuous sacrifices made (morning/evening every Sabbath, on New Moons (remember the Shofar?), on all important festivals as well). King Hezekiah also purified the temple by having consecrated food (to be laid on the table before the Lord every day, eaten ONLY by High Priests) and new utensils consecrated/purified (that would be where mikvehs play in--mikvehs are also used to purify new utensils), etc and so forth. According to the Bible, the consecration of the Temple site began on the 1st day of the month and finished by the 16th day.
Here is where the Red Heifer plays into all of that:
Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Temple 1. It was rebuilt, and then the Romans came along and destroyed Temple 2. Years after that, Muslims constructed both the Dome of the Rock (directly situated on The Temple's site, aka God's House), along with Al-Aqsa Mosque right near by. The Temple Mount is THE holiest site in all of Judaism; it is the third holiest site in Islam. Therein lies the dispute. (But more on that later).
There no specific instructions/descriptions for how Temple 2 was purified and consecrated, but to purify the site, you have to have water purification (aka, a mikveh). Don't have time to build a mikveh? One other way to purify the Lord's House is to sacrifice a perfect, unblemished red cow--you slaughter it, then you burn it, then you turn its ashes to a paste, and then you rub yourself all over with dead cow ashy paste. Ta da! You're all clean and ready to stand before the LORD, and the LORD shall be pleased.
There is a talk that some red cow ashy paste used while building Temple #2 was hidden during the Romans' destruction of Temple #2 (~70 AD). But when the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple, they also pretty much leveled the entire town of Jerusalem, so the hope of finding that old time-y red cow purification paste is akin to finding the Holy Grail; it is the stuff of legend now.
This is why a new red cow matters, and the show DIG is all about the cow.
Listen to me, Internet: no shit. There are groups out there attempting to breed the perfect red cow. Right now! Jason Isaacs tweeted a link to a video of a really sweet Jewish farmer who's got a perfect red cow, and he'd like to send it to Jerusalem to help some Armageddonists out. If you haven't seen it, you can click-> HERE. (He reminds me of my great Uncle Calvin, who was also a farmer, but Presbyterian.)
If Avram and the red cow make it to Jerusalem, the nefarious group of Jewish/Christian/Government ne'er-do-wells will most likely:
A) slaughter it
B) burn it up
C) turn it into a purification paste
D) rub that all over that Joshua kid, who will most likely be wearing the breastplate with the stones in it because
E) Joshua is being raised/groomed to be the High Priest/Messiah who will build Temple 3. (More on that, too, when I share more stuff on Temple on the Mount.)
BAM!!! DIG (on USA!) mystery solved! (Sorry if I just spoiled it.)
Ha, no. Just messing with you. You still have a mystery to figure out with Peter--what are all the connections? what the heck HAPPENED to Peter's daughter? will Lynne and Peter ever get it together? SHOULD they? Who. Killed. Emma?!
All that stuff I just wrote is just the background behind it all, the story's backdrop.
But seriously, this should scare the holy bejeezus out of you: there are, as you read this, real groups of people working feverishly to breed a pure red cow as sort of a nudge to God to get a move on it. (I think God's actually supposed to provide the red heifer. But you know us humans--we want what we want when we want it and when do we want it? NOW.) (This is why God's no longer on speaking terms with us, I just know it.)
One group (that I think the nefarious Jewish group in the show is based on) is called The Temple Mount Faithful. It's founded/run by Samuel Gershon, a researcher and lecturer on Middle Eastern studies, and an expert on the movement of the Kurdish people. He's an officer in the Israeli Defense Army, and is descended from Rabbi Avraham Solomon Zalman Zoref, circa 1811, who once tried to locate the 10 lost tribes of Israel and bring them back to the Promised Land. Samuel Gershon has dedicated his life to trying to have all the Muslim shrines set up on the Temple Mount removed so it can be re-consecrated to God in the name of His Chosen People.
In addition to him, there are several Christian groups also trying to use scientific, genetic engineering to breed a perfect, unblemished red cow that can be shipped to Israel to rebuild the Temple. One of them is Clyde Lott, an evangelical preacher from Mississippi. Lott has been working with Jewish rabbis on some genetic tinkering needed to produce a perfect red heifer. There are two other American Christians also trying to breed perfect red cows.
If they're successful, this would be the light for the fuse to light the atomic bomb. A red cow's appearance would reeeeally upset the Islamic world, way worse than anything George W. Bush could have ever said or done. All of the Jewish temples on the Mount are currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock, as well as Al-Aqsa Mosque nearby the Dome. Extremists have tried to destroy both the Dome and the Al-Aqsa mosque to make room for Temple 3. A red cow being brought into Israel, slaughtered, burned, and turned into ash would be the signal it's time to rebuild the Temple. To rebuild the Temple, you have to purify the site. To purify the site, you have to remove what's currently there.
And them's fightin' words.
Basically--everybody become vegan so we can reduce our dependence on cows, thus eliminating the ability to purify the Temple area, thus eliminating the ability to light the atomic religious bomb. (Or, better yet, let's do this: everybody join hands and start singing John Lennon's IMAGINE.)
Y'all! Holy crazy cow patties!
Up next, before Thursday's Episode #6 premiere: someone clued me in to research The Illuminati. Jason Isaacs just announced Episode #6 has yet another HOLY &#$^%#@!!!!!! moment at the end. So I'm on Spring Break, I got some time. Guess I'll be back with some more Blog of DIG Geek for y'all in a day or so.
In the meantime, here. Jump in a hot mikveh and watch this: