On Family Purity

Leviticus 15 discusses the family purity laws. This is a tough subject that spouses should discuss with each other and ask YHVH for wisdom on how to implement them. Holiness and purity is very important to YHVH in all situations. Men, at the very least, are to refrain from all physical relations with their wives during her monthly flow. Any man who has a problem with this needs to repent of selfishness, uncontrolled passions and failing to give his wife space during a difficult time in her life. Sin has consequences, whether we understand what they are or not, so why risk it? YHVH takes his laws seriously and blessings or curses befall us vis-à-vis our relationship to them. Check your heart attitude here. Are you serious about obeying YHVH? Or at this point, are you content to ignore his Word and, in effect, rip pages out of the Scriptures arrogantly saying, “It doesn’t apply to me”? Didn’t the serpent say something like this to Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge about the Word of Elohim?


Leviticus 15:1–33, Regarding bodily emissions, what lessons can we learn from these verses on how YHVH views us as being the temples of his Set-Apart Spirit? How are we to treat our bodies with respect and to care for them in a way that glorifies YHVH?

Leviticus 15:19–24, The laws of niddah apply to a women in her menstrual cycle. This is an area that many take for granted, but not YHVH in his Torah. A woman’s body produces life or death depending on whether an egg has been fertilized or not during her monthly cycle. There are many spiritual ramifications to this, and YHVH does not treat this matter lightly. While her egg is passing from her body she is in a state of impurity since, in a sense, death is occurring (an unfertilized egg is passing out). It is a time of grieving and emotional turmoil for the woman. This is NOT the time for a man to approach his wife sexually. To do so, as already noted, is strictly forbidden (Lev 18:19).

Consider the benefits to the marriage of the husband and wife separating themselves sexually and emotionally at this time each month, and how it can benefit and enrich a marriage. The man learns self control and selflessness in that he is given the opportunity to be extra solicitous of his wife’s needs without expecting anything in return. What’s more, how much sweeter their time of intimacy will be when the do come back together intimately. The old adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, could apply here.

The Torah considers a woman to be unclean for at least seven days, even if her flow lasted only one day. So at the minimum a man is to be separated from his wife (giving her an emotional break) for at least seven days, if not longer. On the eighth day (at the minimum) or the next day after her flow has stopped, she is no longer considered unclean (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Vayikra, p. 247). Eight is the biblical number signifying new beginnings. In this case, eight relates to the new cycle of life that begins as the woman’s body begins to produce a new egg with the potential for new life to occur.


4 thoughts on “On Family Purity

  1. I don’t believe there is any documented evidence, i.e. studies, that demonstrate family purity leads to a decrease in cervical cancer. This is a myth. Nuns and Orthodox Jewish women have lower rates of cervical cancer, likely due to the fact that the HPV virus contributes to many, but not all cases of this disease.

    More likely, having zero or only one intimate partner prevents the spread of the HPV virus.

    • Thank you for your input. While, after further research (e.g., Dr. Joseph Menczer’s study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal in 2003; see http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/cancer/menczer1/), it would appear, as you assert, ostensibly that there is no link between cervical cancer and sexual abstinence during a woman’s menses. However, Dr. Menczer’s study is far from conclusive. While it’s universally admitted that Jewish women have a lower rate of cervical cancer —– and it’s even lower in the Orthodox community where women are more likely to adhere to the Torah commands regarding niddah —— Menszer admits that determining the reasons are difficult and complex to ascertain. More research needs to be done.

      So, at this time, we can agree that there is, as of yet, no conclusive evidence that the practice of abstinence during menses helps to prevent cervical cancer. But to call it a myth seems premature. There are deleterious consequences to disobeying YHVH’s Torah, and I wouldn’t want to take my chances by violating any of the Torah’s commands.

      I will rephrase my post re. the cervical cancer statement. Obviously, I got some wrong info along the way.

      Again, thank you.

      • I certainly agree to seeking to understand and follow torah to the best of our ability. I read something similar in a book by a somewhat well-known rabbi. However, one can’t make scientific or medical statements that are 1) disproven 2) not validated adequately as if they were fact. In other words, don’t claim a study or medical sciences proves your view when it doesn’t. It bothers me how so many will accept a statement that is open to investigation without checking it out. That is my definition of cult-like behavior, and I see so much of it. Many people get mad if you even ask questions.

        So, whenever I hear this sort of stuff, I ask for evidence. The answer is usually, “Well, so and so said it, so it must be true.”

      • I agree. We must be truth seekers and only put out the facts as best we know. If we’re speculating about something, we need to disclose it. Anything short of this impugns our credibility and hinders the advancement of truth.

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