Questions tagged [tamei-tahor-ritual-purity]

Questions related to the Torah concepts of *tumah* and *taharah* - ritual impurity and purity.

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21
votes
6answers
11k 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?
21
votes
3answers
981 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
461 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] ...
15
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3answers
664 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
302 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
502 views

Why didn't women complain about not being able to bring the Pesach?

During the first year in the desert, some men were tamei and complained that they couldn't bring the Pesach. This resulted in the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni. Men and women are equally obligated to ...
14
votes
3answers
765 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 etc....
13
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2answers
1k 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 ...
13
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2answers
579 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 become ...
12
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
241 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
271 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
3k 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: https://en....
11
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
615 views

Is a Kohen Allowed to Receive an Organ Donation?

A Kohen is forbidden from becoming Tamei Meis (coming in contact with a dead body) (Vayikra-21) Aside from being allowed for Pikuach Nefesh reasons (life threatening situation). What other reasons ...
10
votes
3answers
928 views

Samson and the Nazarite Vow

When Samson returned to check on the carcass of the lion he had slain (Judges 14:8), did he ceremonially defile himself? (especially considering that he took honey from out of the carcass) Would even ...
10
votes
1answer
208 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
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1answer
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
698 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
524 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
7k views

A wife wants to stop going to the mikva. What does that mean for the husband?

If a wife sees no value in keeping the laws of family purity, and wants to stop going to the mikva, what are the halachic ramifications for the husband? The answer that I'm looking for is what ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
516 views

The Chanuka Miracle of the Oil and Tumah Hutra Btzibur

In the events of Chanukah, why did they need the miracle of finding the Shemen tahor pure olive oil? After all,the Gemara says Tumah Hutrah beTzibur (pesachim 77a), meaning if all the oil is Tumay ...
8
votes
1answer
634 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?
8
votes
2answers
228 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, etc....
8
votes
2answers
128 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
298 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 (...
8
votes
1answer
188 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) ...
8
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
306 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?
7
votes
2answers
353 views

What happened to Tohorot?

As I understand it, all of Tohorot has been reduced, in modern practice, to Niddah and some hand washing. The entire structure of transmittable 'uncleanliness' is inoperative. Why is it inoperative? ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

Machshirin 1:6: Chazon Ish's defence's of Bartenura's peirush

Machshirin 1:6 contains three clauses: When someone blows on lentils, the Sages say this counts as b'chi yutan. When someone hides their vegetables in a river from thieves, this doesn't count as b'...
7
votes
1answer
197 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
1k 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?
7
votes
1answer
709 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
128 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
168 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
266 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
172 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 dishes,...
6
votes
4answers
262 views

Could a Cohen burn a body to escape the impurity?

Excuse the extreme hypothetical, but: If a Cohen were locked in a room with no windows and a dead body, and just so happened to have lighter fluid and a pack of matches (and there were small holes in ...
6
votes
3answers
277 views

All men today are safek zav?

Someone told me that it was obvious to him (and he got someone else to agree with them) that all men today are a safek zav. Meaning, a zav is someone who had an unusual emission from their body (...
6
votes
1answer
560 views

What is the process for purifying your home if you believe it may have been previously used for pagan worship?

Locations of foreign worship are typically of concern. You're not supposed to enter a church for this very reason. My question relates to the idea that one finds out their home was previously used ...
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Is flying over Har Habayis allowed?

It is my understanding that one is forbidden to go onto the Har Habayit ("Temple Mount") while s/he is Tamei. However, if one is only over Har Habayit but not physically on the ground (e.g. flying in ...
6
votes
2answers
173 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
61 views

Can air-dried earthenware become tamei?

According to mishna Keilim 4:4, earthenware is not susceptible to tumah until it has been baked in an oven. ‮כלי חרס מאימתיי מקבלין טומאה? משייצרפו בכבשן, והיא גמר מלאכתן. When does earthenware ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

Discussion of tumah issues when a Kohen Gadol died on Yom Kippur

I was wondering if there is any discussion anywhere of the tumah complications that occurred when the Kohen Gadol died in the Kodesh Kodashim. At an initial glance the issue one would need to worry ...
6
votes
1answer
160 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, ...

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