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Tazria-Metzorah outside of israel 5778

A Treasure in A Relationship
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites
This week, we will read two Torah portions: Tazria and Metzorah. They deal with a group of men and women who are forbidden from entering the Temple due to various kinds of “impurities” in their bodies, and they must undergo a process of “purification” in order to be able to enter. The “impurity” is not a punishment or even evidence of being diminished in any way. These same men and women did nothing wrong, and with some, the “impurity” is natural and even joyful. For instance, a woman who has given birth is considered “impure” for a period of time after the birth and must undergo a process of purification in order to be able to enter the Temple. A woman who is menstruating is forbidden from entering the Temple until she undergoes a process of purification which includes counting seven clean days and then immersing in a ritual bath. Other than that, it is forbidden to have marital relations until the woman has completed the purification process.

In actuality, the only significance nowadays of the prohibitions of impurity, when there is no Temple, are the halachot (Jewish laws) pertaining to “family purity”. The sages of the Talmud asked the following question: Why did the Torah determine that “nida” was seven days? Meaning, what is behind the prohibition of marital relations until a woman has counted seven clean days and immersed in a ritual bath?
Rabbi Meir, among the greatest of sages in the fourth generation of Tana’im, gave an interesting answer quoted in the Talmud: Because being in constant contact with his wife, [a husband might] develop a loathing towards her. The Torah, therefore, ordained: Let her be unclean for seven days in order that she shall be beloved by her husband as at the time of her first entry into the bridal chamber.
This answer provides a unique look at the prohibition of marital relations before ritual immersion. “Habit”, said the sages, “controls everything.” A married couple that lives together in love and devotion can be stressed due to blessed routine. Man’s nature is to be excited by something new and surprising and to loathe something usual, even if it is a love that others would be jealous of. The love between man and wife can be harmed by the lack of excitement, by boredom. These are issues faced by everyone.
So, what does the Torah suggest? Every month, there is a period of time during which the couple has to remain distanced from one another. This is not easy to do but the reward is that after the forced distancing, the couple is excited about the renewed closeness. This way, the vitality of the relationship is preserved and makes the couple’s life interesting and surprising.
This is not the only reason for the important commandment of “family purity”, but it is the one everyone can comprehend. Everyone strives and wishes for a magical relationship that never becomes routine or boring, but that remains stable and faithful. How does one achieve this? Who can reveal the secret the entire world is looking for?
There is a folktale that tells the story of a Jew from Krakow in Poland named Itzik who dreamed of a treasure hidden under a bridge. When he reached the bridge and started to dig under it, he met a man who told him of a different dream in which there is a treasure under the home of that very Itzik. When he returned to his home, disappointed about the dream of finding a treasure under the bridge that didn’t come true, he decided to try his luck yet again and dig under his own house. Then, just as the other person’s dream had predicted, he suddenly found the treasure that was hiding there.
We Jews have a treasure under our own homes. The Torah teaches us the simple and successful way of preserving marital relationships: “family purity”. Before we search for all sorts of methods analogous to the treasure hiding under the bridge – though some might be helpful and should not be disregarded – we might try to search for the treasure in our own homes, in the Torah, and benefit from a stable and flourishing, loving and exciting relationship.

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אתרי הכותל

במתחם הכותל המערבי מספר אתרי תיירות ייחודים, אשר מעניקים מבט מיוחד על תולדותיה של ירושלים ועל ההיסטוריה של העם היהודי לדורותיו.
הצטרפו לרבבות שכבר ביקרו באתרי הכותל ותיהנו מחוויה מעצימה שלא תישכח במהרה.

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