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Parsha Mitzvot: Metzorah: Mitzvah 182 – Concept 456

If a woman’s blood flows for many days outside of her period of separation, or if she has a flow after her separation, all the days of her impure flow shall be like the days of her separation; she is impure (Vayikra 15:25).” We are commanded to observe the laws of impurity caused by a woman’s running issue (Rambam, Hilchot Metamei Mishkav u’Moshav – The Laws of Impurity of Reclining and Sitting).


This is not the blood of menstruation, but a flow of non-menstrual blood from the same place. The menstrual blood is the loss of an opportunity to create, and therefore represents a spiritual vacuum; where there was once the opportunity to create life, there is loss, just as Adam and Eve lost their opportunity to perfect the world, which is the source of all impurity in creation. The blood of Zavah, non-menstrual blood, is similar in appearance, but is not the loss of life; it has the appearance of such loss. Something with the “appearance” of impurity, but not quite the “real thing,” represents spiritual danger. We can compare it to a child who sees something he has been taught is dangerous and reaches out to touch and see for himself.

The first sin, that of Adam and Eve, began with just such “Attraction to danger.” Adam warned Eve to not even touch the Tree of Knowledge as an additional boundary to prevent her from eating. Why would Adam consider this added safeguard before anyone had ever sinned? Why would he expect that his wife needed an extra rule?

Adam himself was tempted. He sensed his own attraction to danger and assumed that his wife would feel the same way. He did not speak to her of an added boundary, but included his addition with God’s instruction. Adam offered an opening to the Snake, who was then able to use the attraction to danger to confuse Eve and lead her to sin.

The “almost dangerous,” must also be avoided, even more so than the actual danger. Rabbi Uri Zohar, the famous Israeli actor who became a Ba’al Teshuvah, describes how much greater is the attraction to sin of someone who is born into observance, has never experienced certain sins, and therefore believes that the sins are far more attractive and pleasurable than they are to someone who has experienced the sins.

Something with the appearance of evil, but “not quite,” has a special attraction. It is more dangerous than the actual “danger.” The days of separation for Zavah are longer than the days of separation of menstruation; they are separation from the attraction to danger.

This is another reason why it is dangerous for us to teach that physical intimacy is a necessary evil so that one can fulfill the Mitzvah of having children: Such an approach offers the “almost dangerous,” and crosses the boundaries, rather than offering an opportunity for achieving a boundless relationship.

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