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Purity

Near(ly) a Woman

Every year in the Hebrew month of Shevat, Jews around the world read Parshat Yitro, the Torah portion that contains the Ten Commandments. But the “Big Ten” are only part of this portion – Parshat Yitro also contains a visit from Moses’ father-in-law, a feast, and a set of instructions from G-d transferred with questionable integrity by Moses to the Israelites. Before becoming a Bat Mitzvah at age 12, I spent months studying this portion and its various commentaries. One line was particularly alarming to me: “Be ready for the third day: do not go near a woman.”

Observance of Mitzvot: Custom and Halakhah

Numerous accounts scattered throughout early halakhic literature indicate that women had many traditions and customs of their own. Their religious life was characterized by a degree of independence and was not exclusively dependent on external halakhic norms. The manner in which women observed mitzvot was extremely influential in the formative stage of halakhah, before it was crystallized, recorded and sealed in the Shulhan Arukh.

Niddah, Tractate

Tractate Niddah is the tractate most concerned with women’s physiology and their halakhic status concerning body issues.

Abraham Geiger

Like many of his contemporary German-Jewish theologians, Abraham Geiger (1810–1874), the leading theorist and intellectual founder of the Jewish Reform movement, was nurtured in a traditional religious home and schooled in the classic rabbinic texts as a young child.

Female Purity (Niddah) Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography of books about female purity (niddah).

Female Purity (Niddah)

In order to understand its development and its centrality in the rabbinic context, menstrual impurity must be seen in the context of the biblical purity system.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Purity." (Viewed on December 14, 2018) <https://jwa.org/tags/purity>.

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