What is Family Purity

Before a child is conceived, its soul is in Heaven, learning Torah and waiting to be united with a body. A lot goes on in this higher form of existence, and it is even determined whom the person will marry. However, the parents do have a role to play in influencing certain kinds of souls to descend and to become their children. One of the ways parents can produce healthy, happy offspring is through having pure thoughts during conception and following the laws of family purity.

What is family purity? Is it a set of rules or a frame of mind? Actually, the answer is a bit of both. By observing the commandments of Family Purity, a Jewish family can truly become “kosher” in a real sense and function with peace and unity. The basis for family purity is a set of the laws concerning a woman’s separation from her husband once a month. Of course, this does not mean living in separate dwellings, but the separation from intimate contact during the time of her period and for a week after her period has stopped. Not only does this involve a hiatus from having marital relations, but also from hugging, kissing, flirting and even passing an object. At first glance, this may seem a bit restrictive, but in actuality, this off and on nature of the Jewish marriage helps refresh the connection between husband and wife and to revitalize their relationship. On a practical level, observing the laws of Family Purity has many benefits, from helping to prevent certain types of cancer, to reducing the number of divorces, although the spiritual significance of these laws far outweigh their practical usefulness.

These laws contain many details governing spotting the first signs of a menstrual period, proper separation, determining the end of the period, preparation and immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath) and marital relations. Gd willing, I will try to cover these topics in future blogs and will suggest reading materials that are useful in learning about these commandments.