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19
votes
3answers
594 views

Can you become “more tamei”? If not, why do we worry about it today?

Without the temple and access to the ritual of the red heifer, we're all tamei (ritually impure) today with no way to fix it. Yet we work to avoid situations that would make us tamei (e.g. kohanim ...
17
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
15
votes
3answers
424 views

Why do plastic bags and not fuselages protect against impurity?

In a picture on this article, we see a kohen who has enclosed himself in a plastic bag so as to avoid becoming impure as a result of flying over a cemetery. Why is it that a pressurized fuselage does ...
13
votes
2answers
387 views

Plastic gloves in Halacha

If someone touches something while wearing gloves (i.e. waterproof rubber gloves), does that halachically count as touching? Practical examples include: Touching a neveilah, whether or not you ...
13
votes
3answers
462 views

Would a genetically engineered red heifer be usable?

Assuming that a non-Jew chose to create a genetically engineered parah adumah (red heifer) and further assuming it met all the halachic requirements --no two black hairs, hadn't been used for work ...
12
votes
2answers
216 views

Does an improperly slaughtered animal render the Shochet impure?

In Vayikra 11:39 it says: לט. וְכִי יָמוּת מִן הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר הִיא לָכֶם לְאָכְלָה הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָהּ יִטְמָא עַד הָעָרֶב:‏ 39) If an animal that you [normally] eat, dies, one who ...
12
votes
1answer
111 views

Can an ultrasound be relied upon?

I have read reports of the accuracy of gender prediction from an ultrasound with numbers ranging from 90-98%. There is a halacha (Y.D. 194:11) that if a fetus sticks its hand [or possibly any limb] ...
11
votes
1answer
973 views

Meaning of the phrase “all Holy Scripture defile the hands.”

I'm sorry if this question is too basic (I'm really impressed with the learned people answering questions on Mi Yodeya!). I was reading about the Council of Jamnia on Wikipedia: ...
10
votes
2answers
184 views

How is a kohen allowed to go outside Israel?

There is a decree which says that all the land outside of Israel is Tamei (as there is a ch'shash that the non-Jews bury their dead outside of official cemeteries). If so, how are Kohanim allowed to ...
10
votes
1answer
155 views

What does a tahara accomplish for a dead person?

What does a tahara, the process of washing and dressing a dead person, accomplish spiritually for the meis?
10
votes
2answers
188 views

Is a wooden knife מקבל טומאה?

I know that פשוטי כלי עץ טהורים (wooden vessels that are flat [without a receptacle] cannot become טמא [ritually impure]). (כלים ב:א) What about a wooden knife? It has a function, but doesn't have a ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Does the act of masturbation cause a change in one's spiritual/religious status vis-a-vis what he may and may not do?

Obviously masturbation is a very serious sin. However, if someone has already transgressed that sin, does his status change vis-a-vis things like learning Torah or davening? Does he need to go to a ...
8
votes
2answers
95 views

discrepancy between parashat emor and yechezkel regarding if it is possible for a kohen to be mitame for a spouse

In parashat Emor (Vayikra 21:2) it is written כִּי, אִם-לִשְׁאֵרוֹ, הַקָּרֹב, אֵלָיו: לְאִמּוֹ וּלְאָבִיו, וְלִבְנוֹ וּלְבִתּוֹ וּלְאָחִיו.כא,ג וְלַאֲחֹתוֹ הַבְּתוּלָה הַקְּרוֹבָה אֵלָיו, אֲשֶׁר ...
8
votes
1answer
129 views

Why did Aharon request that Hashem declare Miriam pure?

Rashi says that one of the meanings of Aharon's prayer regarding Miriam ("Let her not be like the dead, which comes out of his mother's womb with half his flesh consumed!"; Bamidbar 12:12) was that ...
8
votes
1answer
223 views

Issues of Tumah vis a vis non-Jewish human remains

I was once told that there's a crypt in the Old City of Jerusalem near one of the gates (I forget which one), which houses the remains of a well-regarded non-Jew (once again, I forget the exact ...
7
votes
2answers
159 views

Dictionary of symbology in Kodshim and Taharot

I'm wondering if anyone has ever put together a book that lists all the different elements that can come up in the realms of Kodshim and Taharot (e.g. bulls, the number seven, water, slaughtering, ...
7
votes
1answer
154 views

Can/Should a Kohen Disqualify Himself from Birchas Kohanim because of Tumah?

Is it proper for a kohein to disqualify himself from duchaning if he feels that he is ritually unpure at that particular moment?
7
votes
1answer
182 views

What is the significance of the skull of Araunah the Yevusi?

Araunah the Yevusi sells the land upon which the beis hamikdash will eventually be built to Dovid HaMelech (II Shemuel 24:18). Subsequently his skull is found underneath the mizbeach at least twice ...
7
votes
1answer
375 views

Jews were on 49th level of Tumah. Says who?

There is a well known idea that when the Jews left Egypt during the Exodus, they were on the "forty-ninth level of tumah". Many explanations are given for this and it is expounded upon at length by a ...
7
votes
1answer
582 views

Can a woman converting to Judaism go to the Mikvah during her period?

When Gentiles convert to Judaism, they are "like a newborn". If I understand correctly, there is no such thing as Niddah vis a vis non-Jews. So, if I add those two together, I am inclined to assume ...
7
votes
2answers
107 views

Was Naaman tamei from tzaraas?

In Melachim Bet 5:10 we read: וַיִּשְׁלַח אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע, מַלְאָךְ לֵאמֹר: הָלוֹךְ, וְרָחַצְתָּ שֶׁבַע-פְּעָמִים בַּיַּרְדֵּן, וְיָשֹׁב בְּשָׂרְךָ לְךָ וּטְהָר.‏ And Elisha sent a ...
7
votes
2answers
88 views

Does Tuma get nullified?

If a drop of Tuma liquid (say a "Mashke" of a zav) falls into a huge vat of water, do we say that all the water is now an Av, or do we say it could get nullified. If it gets nullified, at what ratio? ...
7
votes
0answers
62 views

Post mortem Tahara

I'm looking for sources discussing the religious aspect of the Tahara done on deceased Jews. I recall someone mentioning that the religious aspect of it was a practice we picked up from the Muslims ...
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Do cremated remains contaminate with tumas mes?

If a body is cremated, do the ashes transmit tumah as do other human remains, or does cremation render the body no longer tamei?
6
votes
1answer
588 views

Kohen flying over a cemetery?

Is there a problem with a kohen flying in an airplane that may fly over a Jewish cemetery? If so, how can a kohen be sure that a flight does not go over a Jewish cemetery?
6
votes
1answer
59 views

How do you inspect a field for graves?

The Gemara (Bab. Nazir 65) discusses some circumstances in which one must inspect a field for graves. How is this done? Do you dig up the earth to a certain depth? Do you dig a trench? Do you dig ...
6
votes
0answers
70 views

Beam for s'chach with wood glue + embedded screws

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...
5
votes
3answers
570 views

Food cooked by woman during Niddah?

If according to my Bible translation - please correct me if it is wrong - anything a woman in niddah or a state of tumah, or 'impurity', touches or sits on becomes 'impure', can food cooked by her be ...
5
votes
4answers
856 views

Do permanently unmarried women need to go to the mikvah?

Is the purpose of a woman's going to the mikvah so that she can permit herself to a man (be he her husband or any potential husband), or is it for her own sake? The nafqa mina is that of a woman who ...
5
votes
1answer
427 views

Is a bat kohen allowed to go to cemetery?

Besides the permitted reasons for male kohen, is a bat kohen allowed to go to cemetery for other reason?
5
votes
2answers
139 views

Touching the forearm when putting on Tefilin

If one has touched his forearm while placing the arm-Tefilin (I see that it's a very common case), is he obligated to wash his hands immediately, as he has to say a Beracha on the head-Tefilin? If so, ...
5
votes
2answers
89 views

Samson and the Nazarite Vow

When Samson returned to check on the carcass of the lion he had slain, did he ceremonially defile himself (especially considering that he took honey from out of the carcass)? Would even the jawbone ...
5
votes
2answers
143 views

Halachic issues with using a frozen river as a mikvah

One hears a lot of legends about women who went to extraordinary lengths to go to mikvah in difficult times. One popular story is about a woman who would make a hole in a frozen river and tovel in the ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Could the Temple vessels become tamei? What happens?

At one point, the Romans would give the job of Kohein Gadol to the highest bidder, who often happened to be a Tziduki (Sadducee). Come Yom Kippur, these Tzidukim would die while performing the avodah ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

Can someone [be] tovel accidentally? (Does tovelling need kavanah?)

Does tovelling, either for vessels or a person, require kavanah (intent) to achieve the purification? Let's say someone went bathing in the river, or for whatever reason just fell in naked; for ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Cohanim in Auschwitz

A lot of people died in Auschwitz, and since cohanim are not allowed to become tamei (ritually impure) by touching a corpse, may cohanim enter Auschwitz?
5
votes
2answers
149 views

The meaning of the word חטא

The word chet is "sin" and is used as such (and in related ways -- sin offering, guilt from sinning, cause others to sin etc.) over 200 times according to my Even-Shoshan. It seems to be connected to ...
5
votes
2answers
113 views

Trains traversing cemeteries - Kohanim

May a Kohen (that is, a member of the priestly clan, who are prohibited by the Torah from exposing themselves to dead bodies) ride on a train that passes over, through, or under a cemetery? May he ...
5
votes
1answer
262 views

How to handle cadavers

My fiancée is going to university, working towards a degree in dentistry. For about a year, she will be required to handle cadavers in the classes. First of all, is this forbidden in Torah? Secondly, ...
5
votes
1answer
72 views

Unclean — Consequences

I know that there are multiple things (food, corpses, menstruation, etc.) that can make one unclean. I'm just uncertain as to what being unclean meant in practicality, especially for touching the ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

Kohen following a Mes into a tunnel

We know a Kohen can not be in the same ohel as a dead person. From what I learned, a moving vehicle does not block the tumah from coming into the car/van/plane etc. So, if one is traveling in a ...
5
votes
0answers
64 views

Must hand washing be done with pure (fresh) water?

It seems from here both that some types of water are considered too salty to be acceptable for ritual handwashing and that mikvah water is always considered acceptable. I am left wondering what, ...
5
votes
0answers
69 views

Why was the oil in the temple tamei at all?

Regarding the story of Chanukah and the need for tahor oil, I recall hearing in a shiur one time that there are 4 things which are not susceptible to tumah from the Torah; oil (a subset of mashkin) ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

Notched 2x4 for maamid?

Let's assume that there is a lechatchila to not use metal object that are mekabel tumah (susceptible to tumah) for something that supports the s'chach ("maamid"), which can be avoided by using ...
5
votes
0answers
106 views

Blessing on Immersing Vessels to Purify Them

A Mikvah can be used to purify humans or certain vessels which have contracted ritual impurity (Rambam Mikvaot 1 (English)). When humans use the Mikvah to purify themselves they recite a blessing ...
5
votes
0answers
56 views

Tourist guides for Kohanim

I recently saw a tourist guide for Kohanim, published online by the Chicago Rabbinical Council, listing certain Chicago tourist sites that are, and are not, problematic for Kohanim. Are there any ...
5
votes
0answers
115 views

Putting poison inside bamboo rods (s'chach)

It says in Shulchan Aruch (OC Siman 629 Sif 3) that one may cover a Sukkah with "chitzim" (arrows) that don't have a "beis kibbul." However, if they do have a "beis kibbul," then it's not valid for ...
4
votes
8answers
141 views

Connection between purity and bris?

The verse in Vayikra 12:2 says דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וְטָמְאָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כִּימֵי נִדַּת דְּו‍ֹתָהּ תִּטְמָא If a woman conceives ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

May a Kohen become a doctor?

May a Kohen, who is not allowed to be around dead bodies and the like, become a doctor? Please mention only sourced answers, and I realize that there are some programs that don't require work with ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Why are the laws of niddah called “tohoras mishpacha” - “family purity”

Why are the laws of niddah called the laws of tohoras mishpacha/family purity? Certainly the "tohorah" part of the phrase makes sense, but why isn't it called "tohoras ishus", marriage purity, or ...