“I would rather die than eat beef,” said Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 91, prime minister of India (1998-2004).
Most westerners know that cow is considered one of the hundreds deities in Hinduism. Country’s 170 million-strong Muslim minority is persecuted for consuming beef (many non-religious Hindus do eat beef) while according to US Department of Agriculture, India is world’s larges exporter of beef – 2.4 million ton in 2015.
What most westerners don’t know that Judaism too have its Holy Cow known as Red Heifer. Torah defines it as a cow whose ashes are endowed with the power to purify the impure, yet the ashes make the Jew who handles it, ritually impure.
“Tell the Israelites to procure for you a Red Heifer that is free from every blemish and defect and on which no yoke has ever been laid,” OT: Num. 19:2ff.
On June 26, 2014, Israel Today reported that US-based Temple Institute, which wants to build the third Temple Mount on the site of Islam’s third most sacred worship place – the Al-Aqsa Mosque, had discovered Red Heifer (Holy Cow), a rare breed in United States (watch video below).
“The discovery of a red calf that could potentially become a Red Heifer excites many Jews who believe that Moses prepared the first Red Heifer and Messiah will prepare the last one. At least in theory, this calf could help Jews sufficiently purify themselves to engage in real Temple activities. For now, however, believers will have to chew their nails for at least two and a half years before it will be known whether or not this import is the Red Heifer,” Tsvi Sadan said.
The appeal to avoid cow-slaughter has a history in India. To respect the religious sensibility of Hindu subjects, the Mughal emperor Babar declared that killing cow was forbidden. In 1593 Emperor Akbar banned killing of cow in respect to his Hindu Queen Jodha Bai. Later Mughal Kings exercised selective restrictions on cow slaughter. Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, the Muslim rulers of Hindu-majority princely state of Mysore, declared slaughter of cow a punishable crime. Similarly, Sikh ruler of state of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and later the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar banned cow slaughter throughout their domains.