Thursday, August 24, 2006

Laws of Family Purity (Taharas Hamishpacha) b'kitzur

The laws of “Taharat HaMishpacha” (literally, the laws of “Family Purity”) are one of the fundamental elements of Jewish marriage which a man and woman undertake to learn and adhere to before entering married life.

The laws of family purity revolve around the woman’s menstrual cycle, and encourage the husband and wife to be intimate during the times she is permitted to him, which occurs (1) after counting five days after seeing the blood from the menstrual cycle, (2) checking for the end of the release of blood from the uterus, (3) counting seven “clean” days where no blood is seen, and (4) immersing in a “mikveh” (a purifying bath). After these four steps are adhered to, the couple is encouraged to be intimate and to have sexual relations.

During the time of the menstrual cycle where the blood is flowing, the husband and wife are not allowed to have any physical relations. They must sleep in separate beds, must not touch or even speak intimately with one another, and must adhere to laws which separate the couple from acts which may lead to intimacy or physical relations.

Family purity laws are learned by both the husband and the wife prior to the marriage ceremony.