We cannot reach cleanness from death unclenness nowadays, because of the lack of "Mey Chatas." We assume that everyone's "Tamei Meis." So, almost all hilchos Tumah v'Taharah are not practiced. Thus, why do we still hold of a part of rules of Tumah v'Taharah such as Netilas Yadayim, Niddah, and of a Kohen not becoming "Tamei Meis"?

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    I don't understand the premise of this question. "We're not makpid on hilchos Tumah v'Taharah nowadays" What?? Why did Halakha stop being in effect? Who decided that? This question makes no sense. I don't even know how to answer you. Why does Niddah exist? Because the Torah said Niddah exists.
    – Double AA
    Jun 15 '16 at 11:46
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  • @Doniel Filreis, See if my edit is congruent with your original question.
    – kouty
    Jun 16 '16 at 4:32
  • @DoubleAA See if it is duplicate with this answer. The question is why a part of hilchot Tahara are in practice nowaday, despite the "permanent Tum'at met"
    – kouty
    Jun 16 '16 at 4:34

This is a very good question. It is also broad. The question is that you assume that everybody is Tme Met. And without Me Hat'at, we remain Tme Met. Why, despite the situation of permanent Tum'a (i.e. until the next Para Aduma preparation), we need to continue to pay attention to Tum'a. .

Let's start with the most spread: Nidda (following the Sefer Hachinuch).

Nidda contains several rules; One of these concern sexual intercourse (Chinuch 207).

שלא לבוא על אשה בעת שהיא נדה, שנאמר (ויקרא יח יט) ואל אשה בנדת טמאתה לא תקרב.

Not to be in sexual relationship with a woman in time that she is nidda. ... And until the end of the 7 Yemei Nidda and Tvilat nidda, she is yet nidda (I skip here the problem of zava-nidda, but it must be known). A wife with Tum'at met is not prohibited for bia. Tum'at nida only is linked to the prohibition. The required

Tum'at Kohanim (2 views in Rishonim):

mitsvat 263, it is not related that the prohibition to be unclean with a dead is linked to the cleanness of the Kohen in the enunciation of the Mitsva.

The source is in mishna Makkot 3,8 and nazir 6, 4. it seems that if he already Tame there is no again Chiuv Malkut without an additional level of uncleanness, the mishna talks about malkut.

In this Mishnayot it is ruled that if they prevent him, "don't be unclean, don't be unclean" and he makes himself unclean (again) despite the prevention, he will be flagellated for each of the warnings.

If he is already unclean, what is the "and he makes himself unclean again"?

The Tosfot Yom Tov on mishnayot Makkot summarize the Gemara; he makes himself unclean again when he moves of and touches again or lift (the dead) or covers it. He report also an other opinion following which the "making unclean again" must be new,e.g. covering after touching. He also makes a correlation between those opinions and a controversy between Rambam and Raavad in chapter 5 of Nezirut Halacha 15-17.

The origin of the Machloket is a Gemara in Nazir 42b.

Rambam learn that the conclusion of the Gemara is that someone that is tme met Shelobechiburim (i.e. that is no longer in contact with the death) and come back in contact with the dead reach an additional grade of tum'a. So, even for us, assuming that all people is tme met, to touch a dead or put in Ohel hamet is an additional tum'a. You can say it "don't be unclean" (i.e. e.g. don't touch the dead) and he will touch. He is Chayav Malkut.

For the Raavad, the conclusion of the Gemara is that Tum'at chiburim is not a law from Tora, and Kohen do not be flagelled for it. And there is no enhancement or cummulation of Tum'at met one after another.

See Tur YD 369 and see Shulchan Aruch YD 369, they rule as Rambam.

If you want to understand this issue, read Teshuvat Harashba 324

Netilat Yadaym

This is a Gzera from Shlomo Hamelech mishum srach Truma. Milechatechilla it is not really for cleanness.


1.Nidda is not only a law of Tum'a but an Isur Bia at time of uncleanness of nidda, not uncleanness of death. (At time of Mikdash too, there are situations that Tum'at Met is allowed betsibur, but not Zav and Zava. Tum'ot are independent one to another.)

2.Netilat Yadaym is a Gzera derabanan in way not to forgot Tum'a of Truma.

3.The Tum'at Kohanim at time that we have no Me Hat'at. This is discussed on Rishonim and acharonim. For simplification. If a Kohen is surely Tme Met, p.e. he touched his dead father (allowed), May he enter in an Ohel Hamet? Machloket. Chibure Met, modern poskim ruled that it is prohibited. T

  • It's a start, but it doesn't exactly answer my question. Why are these areas of halacha singled out from all of hilchos Tum'ah v'Taharah that these are still active?
    – DonielF
    Jun 15 '16 at 20:04
  • @DonielFilreis They aren't. It's all still active. Torah is eternal.
    – Double AA
    Jun 15 '16 at 20:22
  • @DonielFilreis Look at this now, is it better for your question, I reformulated it.
    – kouty
    Jun 15 '16 at 21:37
  • This version is after I studied more seriously the topic of Kohen and uncleannes nowadays.
    – kouty
    Jun 18 '16 at 21:04

Blu Greenberg notes (I'll look into where a bit later) that the tumah of niddah is in some sense unrelated to the prohibition to a husband of relations with a niddah. The latter exists nowadays, but the former does not practically. For example, a chair or other furniture a niddah has sat on becomes ritually impure. Yet no one declines sitting where the niddah previously sat.

An analogy of sorts: An animal which died of non-shechita causes (a neveila) is ritually impure, and prohibited to eat. We don't practice the impurity, but we do practice the not eating it.

Kohanim are prohibited from becoming impure from a dead body (seemingly only directly, and not via other objects or people). [Leviticus 21:1] So even though they may well already be as impure as if they did touch a dead person, or attend a funeral, they are prohibited from again coming in contact, carrying, or being in a covering with a corpse.

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    And therefore... How does this answer anything?
    – DonielF
    Jun 15 '16 at 20:05
  • @DonielF it distinguishes between tumah and other laws that are relevant to the same status, as in niddah. It answers: why keep niddah if everyone is anyway tamei from dead bodies? Sep 19 '16 at 7:11

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