16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 O mortal, when the House of Israel dwelt on their own soil, they defiled it with their ways and their deeds; their ways were in My sight like the uncleanness of a menstruous woman. 18 So I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they shed upon their land, and for the fetishes with which they defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries: I punished them in accordance with their ways and their deeds. 20 But when they came to those nations, they caused My holy name to be profaned, in that it was said of them, “These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave His land.” 21 Therefore I am concerned for My holy name, which the House of Israel have caused to be profaned among the nations to which they have come.
22 Say to the House of Israel: Thus said the Lord God: Not for your sake will I act, O House of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have caused to be profaned among the nations to which you have come. 23 I will sanctify My great name which has been profaned among the nations — among whom you have caused it to be profaned. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord — declares the Lord God — when I manifest My holiness before their eyes through you. 24 I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you back to your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your fetishes. 26 And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; 27 and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people and I will be your God.
29 And when I have delivered you from all your uncleanness, I will summon the grain and make it abundant, and I will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of your trees and the crops of your fields abundant, so that you shall never again be humiliated before the nations because of famine. 31 Then you shall recall your evil ways and your base conduct, and you shall loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abhorrent practices. 32 Not for your sake will I act — declares the Lord God — take good note! Be ashamed and humiliated because of your ways, O House of Israel!
33 Thus said the Lord God: When I have cleansed you of all your iniquities, I will people your settlements, and the ruined places shall be rebuilt; 34 and the desolate land, after lying waste in the sight of every passerby, shall again be tilled. 35 And men shall say, “That land, once desolate, has become like the garden of Eden; and the cities, once ruined, desolate, and ravaged, are now populated and fortified.” 36 And the nations that are left around you shall know that I the Lord have rebuilt the ravaged places and replanted the desolate land. I the Lord have spoken and will act.
Sepharadim end here
37 Thus said the Lord God: Moreover, in this I will respond to the House of Israel and act for their sake: I will multiply their people like sheep. 38 As Jerusalem is filled with sacrificial sheep during her festivals, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. And they shall know that I am the Lord.
In addition, there is a special Torah reading for Shabbat Parah, which is reprinted below.
1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: 2 This is the ritual law that the Lord has commanded:
Instruct the Israelite people to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid. 3 You shall give it to Eleazar the priest. It shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. 4 Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. 5 The cow shall be burned in his sight — its hide, flesh, and blood shall be burned, its dung included — 6and the priest shall take cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson stuff, and throw them into the fire consuming the cow. 7 The priest shall wash his garments and bathe his body in water; after that the priest may reenter the camp, but he shall be unclean until evening. 8 He who performed the burning shall also wash his garments in water, bathe his body in water, and be unclean until evening. 9 A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the cow and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, to be kept for water of lustration for the Israelite community. It is for cleansing. 10 He who gathers up the ashes of the cow shall also wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.
This shall be a permanent law for the Israelites and for the strangers who reside among you.
11 He who touches the corpse of any human being shall be unclean for seven days. 12 He shall cleanse himself with it on the third day and on the seventh day, and then be clean; if he fails to cleanse himself on the third and seventh days, he shall not be clean. 13 Whoever touches a corpse, the body of a person who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the Lord’s Tabernacle; that person shall be cut off from Israel. Since the water of lustration was not dashed on him, he remains unclean; his uncleanness is still upon him.
14 This is the ritual: When a person dies in a tent, whoever enters the tent and whoever is in the tent shall be unclean seven days; 15 and every open vessel, with no lid fastened down, shall be unclean. 16 And in the open, anyone who touches a person who was killed or who died naturally, or human bone, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 Some of the ashes from the fire of cleansing shall be taken for the unclean person, and fresh water shall be added to them in a vessel. 18 A person who is clean shall take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle on the tent and on all the vessels and people who were there, or on him who touched the bones or the person who was killed or died naturally or the grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle it upon the unclean person on the third day and on the seventh day, thus cleansing him by the seventh day. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe in water, and at nightfall he shall be clean. 20 If anyone who has become unclean fails to cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the congregation, for he has defiled the Lord’s sanctuary. The water of lustration was not dashed on him: he is unclean.
21 That shall be for them a law for all time. Further, he who sprinkled the water of lustration shall wash his clothes; and whoever touches the water of lustration shall be unclean until evening. 22 Whatever that unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches him shall be unclean until evening.
Taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985.
Used by permission of The Jewish Publication Society. Copyright © 1962, 1992
Third Edition by the Jewish Publication Society.
No part of this text can be reproduced or forwarded without written permission.
Please visit the JPS website for more fine books of Jewish literature and tradition.