According to rabbinical sources, the kallal was a small stone urn kept in the Tabernacle and later in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem which contained the ashes of a red heifer. The Hebrew Bible does not mention any urn in the Numbers 19 account. Kallal is the Aramaic word for a stone vessel or pitcher. Alternatively, kallal is also used for large jars for washing.
The kalal is mentioned specifically in the Mishnah (Parah 3:3, Eduyot 7:5), Hebrew Rabbinic writings describe vessels hidden under the direction of Jeremiah seven years prior to the destruction of Solomon's Temple, because the dangers of Babylonian conquest were imminent. The vessels that were hidden included the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle fittings, the stone tablets of Moses, the altar (with cherubim) for the daily and seasonal sacrifices, the menorah (candelabra), the kallal and numerous vessels of the priests.
Dead Sea Scrolls
Mainstream scholarship does not recognise any mention of the kallal vessels in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However Vendyl Jones of the Vendyl Jones Research Institute interpreted the Copper Scroll in the Archaeological Museum of Jordan to contain mention of sixty-four lost objects buried in the "Cave of the Column" mentioned in the Copper Scroll, including a kallal buried behind a pillar, which would be a reference to the kallal of ashes in the Mishnah. Jones died without finding such an urn, and his findings and readings of the Copper Scroll have not been accepted.
- Minerva Volume 4 1993 Perhaps this is the shape of the Talmudic kallal, which held the purification ashes of the red heifer. Two crudely finished cylindrical measuring cups (Fig 8), pared with a sharp tool, are typical of those found on Second Temple period ..."
- Targum studies Volume 2 Paul Virgil McCracken Flesher - 1998 "By contrast, the targum's clear description of the vessel into which the ash is put corresponds almost verbatim with Sifre Num. 124; it is a "pitcher," qll, (see also m. Parah 3:3; 10:3, tos. Parah 9:5), stopped with a clay seal, ...
- The stone vessel industry in the Second Temple period Izchak Magen, Levana Tsfania - 2002 "(T Parah 3:3) It is possible that the "measuring cup" with handles from archaeological contexts is the "stone cup" mentioned in the sources. 4. An additional stage was placing the ashes of the heifer in a stone kallal when the ..
- Partsah toharah be-Yiśraʼel Muzeʼon Reʼuven ṿe-ʻIdit Hekhṭ, Ofra Guri-Rimon - 1994 "The large jars (called kallal in the sources) served to store the ashes of the heifer as well as pure water, which were needed for preparing the sacred water that was used in the process of cleansing someone defiled by a dead body. .."
- Ready to rebuild: the imminent plan to rebuild the last days Temple Thomas Ice, Randall Price - 1992 "The Missing Urn - About a decade ago, Vendyl Jones, a onetime Baptist minister ... Jones has been digging in what he believes is the "Cave of the Column" mentioned in the Copper Scroll.