Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Importance for Jewish Men to Learn all the Laws of Family Purity (Part 1)

The laws of Family Purity – Taharat HaMishpacha – are complex. But Family Purity is really the most basic foundation of a Jewish home. Without it, the entire purity of the Jewish home is lacking. With it – the possibility for a home filled with all things Jewish i.e. Kashrut, Shabbat and all the other Torah laws.

It seems however that many men are under the impression that these laws don't apply to them! I suppose it's something like thinking that the laws of Tefillin don't apply to women (so why should they bother learning them?!) Would any woman involve herself in learning the laws of Tzitzit or Mezuzah – for example?! And even if for some reason they felt the need to, would they go into the depth that men should go into in order to know exactly how to fulfil these Halachot properly?!

Sadly – one can even find men sitting in Yeshiva complaining that the laws of Niddah (Family Purity) are just not their thing. Personally, I keep wondering what happened to Tractate Niddah – one of the Gemaras of the Talmud – dealing with these laws in their entirety. Sadly – again – many men shy away from learning this tractate – thinking that perhaps it is better for women to learn it.

Yet, in a strange twist of events, after marrying, men find that they are actually a half of the marriage – a half of the main family (at least at the time of the wedding!) What goes through their minds when it comes to considering the important laws of Taharat HaMishpaha then?! Could it be that they feel that their wives will surely have taken a Kallah course – a series of Shiurim (lessons) to help them know what the laws are? Of course (they think,) when it comes to putting them all into practice, the full responsibility of following these laws will rest strictly upon them!

Anyone who truly values what these laws are about will understand that this is just not the right approach to take. Every Chatan (groom) should be prepared to take a course in learning about these laws – and thoroughly! Every Chatan should be as acquainted with these laws as his Kallah is. 

Some may wonder why. Why should a Chatan ever learn these laws altogether?! And even if he should learn some of them (just in case!) why learn the laws of Chatzitzot (intervening substances that cause a problem when a woman immerses in a Mikvah)? Why learn the laws of Chafifah (the laws regarding the washing and preparation for immersion in the Mikvah)? Why the need to know the laws concerning the time for the anticipated menstruation? Surely these laws relate exclusively to the woman?! It's up to her to know how to fulfil these laws. He surely won't be present when his wife is preparing to immerse. He also won't be present moments before the immersion to check if his wife has any intervening substances. And quite frankly – why should he care when her next anticipated menstruation will be?! Let her keep her own tabs on things, and just let him know when it's important to know (whatever it is he's supposed to know!)

Though it's true that some Mitzvot are "man based" and others "woman based" it should be clear that every husband take an active part in supporting his wife to be able to her fulfil her Mitzvot properly too. It's one of those things that might actually aid in creating real Shalom Bayit (peace in the home!) But there's more to it.

In the coming posts, we're going to examine the importance of these laws – especially from the husband's point of view. We'll see just what a difference it can make in knowing the laws which are seemingly unrelated to the husband.

If you are getting married soon or looking to refresh your knowledge of these laws, contact Rav Eliyahu for Chatan Lessons or Shoshanah for Kallah Lessons, or email Rav Eliyahu or Shoshanah directly. 

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