I am a gentile asking for Jewish insight regarding the differences in ritual impurity time that comes from child birth (the time is doubled for baby girls). As a Christian, I got ideas from my tradition, but I'm hoping their is some wisdom from the sages, and rabbis that might shed some light on this conundrum.

Leviticus 12 New International Version (NIV) Purification After Childbirth

12 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

  • Here's an unsatisfactory treatment of half the question judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7528/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 13:40
  • Thanks! Some of what was said in that thread confirms some other things I've read or heard in lectures. Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 13:52
  • Isn't this the same question as that one, @DoubleAA?
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 14:03
  • @msh210 yes i suppose. i think i read this as 'purity differences' which would cover both halves of the question.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


Rabbi SHimshon Rafael Hirsch explains regarding Leviticus Tazria 12:5 that the mother must prepare and become pure for both herself and her daughter.

And if she gives birth to a female, she shall be unclean for two weeks, like her menstruation [period]. And for sixty six days, she shall remain in the blood of purity.

Rav Hirsch explains:

In the case of a יולדת נקבה the priods of טומאה and ימי טוהר are doubled. The שבועים כנדתה (two weeks) may wish to indicate that this cycle of period is to be considered a dual one. One for the Mother, as in the case of a male baby, and one for the child, for whom the second seven and thirty three take the place of the Mila of the boy, as we pointed out in the Mila chapter (Gen. XVII,15 et seq.), the striking characteristic of a Jewish Woman as a "true daughter of Sarah", is the gift of free-willed subjection to the "measure" of morality and modesty - to which the Jewish Man has a constant reminder in the Mila on his body, - then these טומאה and טהרה laws for women may form, in no lesser degree, a strong preliminary reminder for the necessary preparatory training for such purity of character.


But with daughters, the mother is at the same time pattern as well as former of character, and at the birth of each fresh daughter has doubly to arm herself, for the chid and for herself, to tread the lofty path of purity and morality up to the heights preached by the Sanctuary of Hashem.

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