Thursday, February 24, 2022

What is the Law of Niddah?

Maria Merola אריאל 
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, October 22, 2009 

Often times I encounter people who are looking for loopholes to not obey the Mosaic Law (Towrah). These very same people think have found a “legal loophole” when they try and divert the attention away from the obvious commandments in Scripture to a vague misunderstanding about the laws surrounding a woman’s uncleanness during her menstrual cycle. 

In their attempt to debunk the validity of the Towrah for New Covenant believers, they are constantly trying to bring up literal interpretations of Scripture to somehow “prove” that nobody is able to obey the instructions of our Heavenly Father. 

They assume that he placed all those laws in the Towrah (the five books of Moses) as some kind of “test” to show us that none of us can obey it. The goal of these people is to get us to see that the Towrah is too difficult for anybody to keep, and therefore we should throw out the entire first five books of the Bible and simply relegate the entire thing to “antiquity.” 

To those who would try and suggest that men are not allowed to even “touch” a woman by giving her a hug, or holding her hand during her menstrual cycle, let’s see what the Towrah actually says: 

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 15:19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. 

Now, what we are about to learn from the above verse, is that the phrase “whoever touches her” in the Hebrew translation is implying that anyone who actually touches the blood or touches her in a sexual way, shall be unclean until evening. This commandment is not prohibiting anyone from touching her in the literal sense. If this were the case, she could not change her baby’s diapers while on her menstrual period. 

She could not breast-feed her baby, nor iron her husband’s clothes. She could not cook food, wash dishes etc. Basically, she would have to sit in a box for a week and do absolutely nothing for seven days! This would be the equivalent to what they call “solitary confinement” within the prison system. 

Why would YaHuWaH, our Creator create a woman in this way, only to punish her for seven days out of every month? Why would he require that she not be allowed to come near anyone or touch anyone? This makes no sense at all, unless we study these verses out in context. Stay with me on this, and it will all begin to make more sense. 

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 15:21 And whosoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 

In the above verses, the word for “touch” does not mean that a woman cannot receive a hug or a kiss when she is on her menstrual cycle. 

It means that she may not be “touched” in a sexual way, or have sexual intercourse with her husband during those seven days of her uncleanness. It also means that one may not touch the blood itself if it has spilled onto the bed or the surface where she sat. But how can we be sure of this? Well, let us take a look at the Hebrew word here for “touch.” 

#5060 naga` naw-gah’ a primitive root; properly, to touch, i.e. lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphemism, to lie with a woman); by implication, to reach (figuratively, to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.):–beat, (be able to) bring (down), cast, come (nigh), draw near (nigh), get up, happen, join, near plague, reach (up), smite, strike, touch. 

You will notice from the definition of this word for “touch,” that this is an ambiguous word, and it has multiple meanings. One of the definitions says “near plague,” thus, it is implying that one is not supposed to touch the plague itself, or the blood. It does not mean that we cannot touch the woman. 

You will also notice that this word is “a euphemism” for “to lie with a woman.” How does the dictionary define a “euphemism?” It means the following: the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt; the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.” 

An inoffensive phrase substituted for one considered offensive or hurtful, especially one concerned with religion, sex, death or excreta. Examples of euphemisms are “sleep with” for “have sexual intercourse with.” 

Other examples are: “departed” instead of “dead” or “relieve oneself” instead of “urinate.” 

Thus it is the same with the “laws of uncleanness” (niddah). The prohibition for “touching” the woman during her menstrual cycle is being used as a euphemism which means not to have sexual intercourse with her or actually touch the blood itself. What does this word “niddah” mean? 

Strong’s #H5079niddah נִדָּה Impurity, filthiness, menstruous, set apart; impurity; of ceremonial impurity; of menstruation; impure thing; of idolatry, immorality. 

This word for “uncleanness” is used in Ezekiel 36:17 referring to the uncleanness of the House of Yisra’el: 

Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 36: 

16 Moreover the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, 

17 Son of man, when the house of Yisra’el dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness [tumah] of a removed woman [niddah]. 

18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: 

19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 

In Ezekiel 36:17, the word “niddah” is specifically used to describe the woman who is removed from her husband during her days of uncleanness. The word “uncleanness” in the verse 17 is the Hebrew word “tumah” literally means “ritually impure.” 

It comes from another Hebrew word “tame,” which means the same thing. This simply means that she is prohibited from participating in Temple activity during this time. This is why during the time when the Temple was functioning in Jerusalem, there was the outer court for the women. 

Ezekiel 36:17 describes a “removed woman,” [niddah], but this simply means that she does not have sexual intercourse with him during those days. It does not mean that she stops breast-feeding her babies, or that she stops folding laundry. It does not mean that she stops cooking, or that she is forbidden from kissing her husband as he leaves for work in the morning. 

How many people are rich enough to own two houses so that the woman may go and live in a quarantined space for seven days out of each month? Do you see how ridiculous this sounds? 

The Hebrew word used for “unclean” in Leviticus 15 for the woman’s menstrual cycle is the following word: 

Strong’s #H2930 tame’ טָמֵא To be unclean, become unclean, become impure; to be or become unclean sexually, religiously, ceremonially, to defile oneself, be defiled; sexually, by idolatry, ceremonially, to be regarded as unclean, to defile sexually, religiously, ceremonially, to pronounce unclean, declare unclean (ceremonially). 

Let’s take a look at another scripture that uses this word for “touch” in the same context: 

Mishley (Proverbs) 6:29 So he that goes in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever touches [naga] her shall not be innocent. 

Once again, this Hebrew word for “touch” is referring to sexual intercourse. This is not a prohibition against accidentally bumping into a woman in a grocery store! 

The Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) uses the word “touch” in the same way here in his letter to the Corinthians. 

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 7: 

1 Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 

2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 

Given the context of what Sha’uwl (Paul) is addressing in 1st Corinthians 7, we know that he is not talking about a father giving his teenage daughter a hug. He is talking about “touching” a woman in a sexual way or having intercourse before marriage. Hence, when a woman is on her menstrual cycle, she is able to hug her husband and children, but her husband may not have intercourse with her during this time. 

Furthermore, you will notice that if her husband did accidentally “touch” her during her uncleanness (meaning that he touched the blood), he would be considered “unclean” ceremonially for Temple service. This means that he could not come before YaHuWaH in prayer as he had touched “death.” This is because human life is sacred to YaHuWaH. 

Touching the blood from a woman’s egg that has not been fertilized is death to a potential child that could have been born. This is how serious Yah is about life and producing children. 

In Genesis 1:27-28, the moment that he created mankind in his image, he commanded us to “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” 

Therefore, YaHuWaH cannot have death in his presence, as he is the author of life. If a man accidentally “touches” his wife in a sexual way during her menstrual cycle, he has to wait seven days before he can approach YaHuWaH in prayer in the Temple. 

It is not a sin punishable unto death. There is a clear distinction between “touching” the surface whereupon the woman during her menstrual cycle has sat, versus touching the blood itself. 

YaHuWaH was prohibiting anyone from actually touching the issue of blood. Otherwise, you may never sit on a bus, a train or an airplane. How would one ever know if a woman who had been on her period had sat there before you did? 

Think about this logically. YaHuWaH obviously meant not to touch the blood. 

Let’s read it again with the proper understanding: 

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 15:21 And whosoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening

*Note: this means that whoever touches her bed, (if the blood had spilled onto the bed, and they accidentally touched the blood itself), then they are unclean. If she is protected, and there is no issue of blood contaminating anyone, then the bed is not unclean. The bed only becomes unclean if the blood had spilled onto the bed. 

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 15:22 And whosoever touches anything that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 

*Note: if you take this literally, then you would never be allowed to buy a new car, because a woman on her period may have test driven the car. If you sat in that driver seat later on, you would have to go home and wash your clothes every day, because you would never know if a woman on her period had sat in that passenger seat. This would thereby make that seat forever and perpetually unclean. Now think about how ridiculous that sounds! 

This would also mean that you could not buy a sofa at the furniture store without having to wash your clothes every time you sat on that sofa! Do you see how tedious this would be? 

It is obvious that YaHuWaH was forbidding us from actually touching the blood itself, not the woman. Today there are protective things for women to wear during her menstrual cycle. However, in biblical times, they did not have such protection, and blood would get on everything. 

They had to make rags to wear, and they were not very absorbent. Now let us examine the following verse to see what “it” means:

Wayyiqra (Leviticus)15:23 And if it be on her bed, or on anything whereon she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until the evening. 

You will notice in the verse above, that it says “If it be on her bed.” If what be on her bed? Blood! 

If a woman wears tampons or sanitary pads, and there is no blood on the bed or the sofa, or the bus, train, car seat, then you are not unclean if you happen to sit in the same seat whereupon she also sat. It is only if “it” (meaning the blood) is on her bed (chair, car seat etc.) and you touch that object where the blood is exposed, then you are unclean until evening. 

If a man lies with his wife while she is on her period, then he is unclean for seven days, and he may not approach the “Holy Place” in the sanctuary for seven days. He would bathe literally (mikvah) or baptize himself in water, and also he shall “Wash his garments” where upon the blood had been exposed. 

If a man does lie with his wife during her uncleanness, then he should repent and go and sin no more. He may experience seven days where he will not be able to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit when he prays. He may then be (in a sense) under a “cloud” until those seven days are finished, and then he could experience “breakthrough” in the spirit. 

What About a Man’s Uncleanness? 

The same principle applies when a man spills his semen. If a man spills his seed, he is unclean ceremonially until evening. You will also notice in Leviticus 15:17, that whereupon the semen is touching the skin or garment, that garment is unclean just as it is with the blood of the woman: 

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 15:

16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. 

17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. 

18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening. 

This does not mean that if the man sits on a chair after he has spilled his semen, that the chair becomes unclean. It means that the object upon which the semen is spilled becomes unclean until it is washed off. 

The same thing holds true with the object upon which the woman’s blood is spilled. The object upon which the semen or blood comes into contact shall be unclean until it is washed off and there is a waiting period until evening. 

The same Hebrew word is used for a man’s uncleanness in Hebrew which is:

Strong’s #H2930 tame’ טָמֵא To be unclean, become unclean, become impure; to be or become unclean sexually, religiously, ceremonially, to defile oneself, be defiled; sexually, by idolatry, ceremonially, to be regarded as unclean, to defile sexually, religiously, ceremonially, to pronounce unclean, declare unclean (ceremonially). 

If the man is also unclean when he spills his semen, why is it that men treat the woman’s uncleanness as if it is somehow worse? Double Standards of the Rabbis? 

If the rabbinic standards were true for not being allowed to touch a woman during her menstrual cycle, then men would also not be allowed to touch anyone for the rest of the day if he had spilled his semen that morning. 

This means he could not conduct regular business all day long at work and shake hands with other men, or touch the same hammer or pen that someone had touched. In the final analysis, we can see that the laws for “niddah” are greatly misunderstood and often-times abused within Judaism. 

These laws are not meant to put us into bondage. These laws are actually meant to point us to something much deeper. The meaning behind these laws is to show us how precious and valuable life is. It teaches us that YaHuWaH greatly values human life. 

Any instance of a woman’s egg dying (without being fertilized); or a man’s sperm being wasted (because it failed to fertilize an egg) is deeply grieving to him. Our Creator is the giver of life, and he wants us to reflect his character by being fruitful. 

When we fail to produce fruit (whether in a physical or spiritual way), it saddens his heart. Within Christianity, these laws seem antiquated and silly. Often-times, they are used out of context as an excuse to negate the Towrah (Mosaic Law) entirely in the life of a believer. 

The laws of uncleanness are not exclusive to women. The laws of uncleanness apply to men as well. If a man spills his semen through masturbation or pulling out of the woman before copulation, he is under a curse for doing so. 

In Genesis 38:9, Onan refused to perform the duty of a close relative by marrying his dead brother’s childless wife, Tamar. He spilled his seed because he was selfish, and did not want to raise up a son on behalf of his dead brother. Men who spill their seed (semen) for selfish pleasure, (and have no intention of producing life) are not in good standing with YaHuWaH. 

Women who practice methods of birth control to prevent a pregnancy are also cursing themselves. There are fallen angels (demons) who take advantage of such things by using the male semen, or the eggs of women to create hybrid beings called “Nephilim.” In Hebrew, this word means “fallen ones.” 

You can read about this in Genesis 6:1-4& Jude 1:6. These fallen angels will often come to people in their sleep, (if they engage in sexual sins, pornography, fantasies, masturbation), and they steal their semen or eggs. 

These demons are called “Incubus & Succubus.” The Law of Niddah paints a picture of the nation of Yisra’el when they had fallen away from YaHuWaH with the worship of false pagan gods. 

It was because of their unfaithfulness that he compared them to a woman who was unclean, during her monthly period. It was because of their uncleanness, that they failed to be fruitful by preaching the good news to the nations. 

Do the Laws of Niddah still apply to us today? Well, yes in some ways they still do. However, not as far as Temple Services are concerned, because (at the moment), there is no functioning Temple in Jerusalem. 

Therefore, to those who follow Messiah, these laws still apply, as far as sexual intercourse is concerned with our spouse. Husbands and wives are required to abstain from sexual intercourse while the woman is on her period. 

The man must not masturbate, nor spill his seed unless he is planning on fertilizing his wife’s egg. The man is unclean before YaHuWaH if he spills his seed for selfish and lustful reasons, and he must repent. 

The woman is unclean during her menstrual period, and she must abstain from intercourse with her husband during those days. If the woman has infertility issues, or she is post-Menopause age, it is up to YaHuWaH to decide if he wants to impregnate her or not (just as he did with Sarah at the age of 90). 

In 1st Samuel 21:4-5, King David and his men were hungry, and he inquired from the priest to eat of the old show-bread in the temple. He explained to the priest that he and his men had abstained from sexual intercourse with women for three days, and therefore, were eligible to eat of the show-bread. 

Obviously, intercourse in marriage is not a sin, and it is actually encouraged by Yah. However, just before approaching the holy place in the temple, a man must abstain from spilling his semen during this time. This is why the priests in the temple were required to live at the temple for two weeks during their course. 

They were not allowed to have sexual intercourse with their wives during those two weeks of temple duties. In Numbers chapter 5, if a woman was suspected of cheating on her husband, the husband could take his wife to the temple to perform a test. The test was called “The Law of Jealousy.” 

If the woman had cheated on her husband, (and it was hidden from him), her belly would swell, and her thigh would rot. This was the punishment for her uncleanness. However, if she passed the test, (which meant she had not cheated), then she would go home and conceive with her husband (Numbers 5:28). 

Thus, we can see that conception is the opposite of curses and death. Being unclean is being in the state of having produced death. An unfertilized egg or a sperm that was spilled without an egg to fertilize is no different than death in the eyes of the Creator. 

The Laws of Niddah have a practical application when it comes to temple services. They also apply prophetically to the nation of Yisra’el, as we can see it as a metaphor for being spiritually unclean. These laws also teach us about the value of human life and fertility; and what Yah requires of married couples. The nation of Yisra’el was described several times in scripture as being unclean as a woman during her menstrual cycle. 

Therefore, it is understandable why the Apostle Sha’uwl (Paul) wrote the following words concerning Eve, and a woman’s nature in 

1st Timothy 2:15 “Nothwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing...” 

What does giving birth have to do with salvation? It simply means that giving birth and being fruitful, puts us on a path to finding our true purpose in life, which is to bear much fruit (both physically and spiritually). 

If uncleanness is equated with failing to give birth, then giving birth is also equated with being made clean. It does not mean that everyone who gives birth is automatically saved. It simply means that there are lessons to be learned from procreating, and thus bearing fruit. This is what our Messiah meant when he declared in 

Yahuwchanon (John) 15:3 “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” 

In the beginning, YaHuWaH created all things by his spoken word, and he called it “good.” 

Hebrews 11:3 declares that Yah framed all things by his spoken word. If we are made clean by his spoken word, then it behooves us to become fruitful in everything we undertake in life. 

Failing to produce fruit (spiritually speaking), will ultimately banish us from more than just the temple, but it will banish us from eternal life. And this is what we learn from the Laws of Niddah. 

Yahuwchanon (John) 15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, so shall you be my disciples.”

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