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Torah source for mikveh

14 November, 2016

Question:

I'm looking for the source of the mitzvah of going to the mikvah after being in niddah. I've been directed by others to parts in vayikra that speak about niddah, but there it says a woman should bring a korban when she is finished being in niddah. What I'm looking for is where the mitzvah of going to the mikvah comes from. Thank you for your help.


Answer:

The requirement for a niddah to immerse is a Torah level, D'oraita, law. However, it is not explicitly stated in any verse in Torah. This is an instance where the Rabbinic tradition is essential for a proper understanding of the Torah text.

There are a few different Torah sources given for the requirement that a woman in niddah immerse. These include VaYikra 15:18, which is understood by the Rambam as a 'binyan av', or archetype, for anyone who is tamei (ritually impure) needing to immerse. An alternative scriptural basis is VaYikra 15:21, which requires one who touches a niddah's bedding to immerse. Kal vachomer (a fortiori), a niddah herself must immerse. Another source is Bamidbar 31:23, in which a mikveh is referred to as "the waters of niddah." (For further reference, see Bet Yosef, Yoreh Deah 197:1.)

On another note, a zavah brings a sacrifice when she exits that status (VaYikra 15:25-30), but a niddah does not (VaYikra 15:19-24). Again, the Rabbinic tradition is important in understanding the verses.

Please write back with any further questions.


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