Taharat (Tohorat) Ha-Mishpaḥah

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TAHARAT (Tohorat ) HA-MISHPAḤAH (Heb. הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה טָהֳרַת; lit. "family purity"), the term popularly given to the laws of *niddah, which involve a married couple's abstinence from sexual relations during the period of menstruation until the wife's immersion in the *mikveh. These regulations are considered by the Orthodox to be basic to the Jewish way of life, and R. Akiva went so far as to declare the son of a niddah a *mamzer (Yev. 29b). Although his viewpoint is not accepted as the halakhah, it nevertheless indicates the importance of these laws. In more modern times, many psychological, medical, and physiological reasons have been given for the observance of this precept, and all of them stress the benefits that are gained by the couple practicing abstinence during part of each month. Societies have been organized in many communities for the purpose of instructing people in these laws and supervising the daily functioning of the mikveh.


I.J. Unterman, Tohorat ha-Mishpaḥah ve-Heikef Hashpa'atah (1970); D. Miller, The Secret of the Jew (1930); N. Lamm, A Hedge of Roses (1966); K. Kahana, Tohorat Bat Yisrael (19633).