In the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 128:13 he states, regarding going to a cemetery on Erev Rosh Hashana:

וְגַם מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹם קְבוּרַת הַצַּדִּיקִים, הַמָּקוֹם הוּא קָדוֹשׁ וְטָהוֹר, וְהַתְּפִלָּה מְקֻבֶּלֶת שָׁם בְּיוֹתֵר, בִּהְיוֹתָהּ עַל אַדְמַת קֹדֶשׁ, וְיַעֲשֶׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חֶסֶד בִּזְכוּת הַצַּדִּיקִים‏

An additional reason for going to the cemetery is that the place where tzaddikim are buried is sacred and pure, and prayers are more readily accepted when they are offered on sacred ground, and the Holy One, blessed is He, will show us kindness for the sake of the tzaddikim.

The definition of Kadosh - קָדוֹשׁ - is tricky and seems to be related to how much connection the place has to Hashem. (But I'm open to other explanations.)

The definition of Tahor - טָהוֹר - is well defined. It's a place that has been purified from various types of Tum'a. One of the most serious types of Tum'a (and in some aspect, The most serious type) is the Tum'a caused by corpses.

Cemeteries are inherently not Tahor and a Cohen is not even allowed to come close to the graves because of this.

The same wording is used by the Kaf HaChaim O"C 581:95 and the Ba'er Hetev, O"C 581:15 which refers to S"A O'C 581:4 which says:

מכבסין ומסתפרין בערב ראש השנה (ויש נוהגין לטבול בערב ר"ה משום קרי) (כל בו) (ויש מקומות נוהגין לילך על הקברות ולהרבות שם בתחינות (מהרי"ל) ונותנים שם צדקה לעניים (כל בו):‏

One bathes and cuts their hair on the eve of Rosh Hashana. (and there are those that are accustomed to immerse in a mikvah on the eve of Rosh Hashana on account of seminal emission). (And there are places where there is a custom to go to the graves and to pray there and to give charity to poor people there.)

How can one refer to a cemetery as a Pure place - a מָּקוֹם טָהוֹר?

Where did this phrase come from that so many Seforim use it?

Note the Mishna Berura 581:27 skips the Kadosh and Tahor part.

(כז) הקברות - דביה"ק הוא מקום מנוחת הצדיקים והתפלה נתקבלה שם יותר אך אל ישים מגמתו נגד המתים אך יבקש מהש"י שיתן עליו רחמים בזכות הצדיקים שוכני עפר ויקיף הקברות ויתן צדקה קודם שיאמר התחנות. ואין לילך על קבר אחד ב"פ ביום אחד:‏

  • קברי צדיקים אינם מטמאים? – Joel K Dec 26 '18 at 14:10
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    While I admire your fidelity to original meanings, is it really so uncommon to find Tahor used outside its technical context? How many Chasidim dunk in drawn water to add "levels of tahara" whatever that means? – Double AA Dec 26 '18 at 14:11
  • @DoubleAA - Either they are confusing Kedusha with Tahara, or else they have the answer. Where else - in classic texts - do we find Tahara unrelated to Tum'a? – Danny Schoemann Dec 26 '18 at 14:17
  • Who said anything about classic texts?? You're quoting a text that's barely 150 years old – Double AA Dec 26 '18 at 14:18
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    @JoelK - 9 קיצור שלחן ערוך ר״ב:י״ד: יש כהנים הדיוטים נוהגים ללכת על קברי צדיקים, באמרם שקברי הצדיקים אינם מטמאים, וטעות הוא בידיהם וצריכין למחות להם - I know of no other instance of this mentioned in Halacha. Nor does Sefaria. :-) – Danny Schoemann Dec 26 '18 at 14:19

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