Science in the Torah

The Laws of Family Purity – The Health Benefits

The Laws of Family Purity demonstrate once again what our ancestors have always known – that the same God who created both humankind and the world also wrote the Torah. However, let us offer two brief examples, allowing the reader’s own intelligence and curiosity to encourage him or her towards further study of these issues.

1. The third stage is ovulation, namely, the expulsion of the ovum from the ovaries. The time of ovulation coincides exactly with the reformation of the outer lining of the uterus (which will catch the fertilized ovum, nourish it and allow it to grow into a fetus). Based upon astounding evidence accumulated by various monitoring devices, scientists have determined that the day of immersion in the mikveh – which is the first day of resumed marital relationships after the menstrual break – is the absolute best day for conception!

The most interesting fact here is the overlap between three intimately connected functions: the legally proscribed day for immersion after seven clean days; the point of ovulation most likely to produce conception; and the culmination of the seven days of rebuilding the outer lining of the uterus.

Again, scientific discoveries do not reveal anything that was not already stated in clear terms by the Oral Torah which states: “A woman conceives only immediately after her immersion.”

2. It is said in the Babylonian Talmud (Niddah 30a):

“Why did the Torah make the duration of niddah seven [“clean”] days [after the four or five days of her period]? Because he [the husband, may have] got used to her and was impatient with her [Rashi explains that this means that he was “tired of her”]. The Torah decided to make her forbidden for seven days so that she would be desirable to her husband again [after immersing in the mikveh], just as she was on their wedding night.”

This teaching illuminates the Laws of Family Purity from a different direction, emphasizing their contribution to the emotional health of the couple. It turns out that these laws provides an ideal solution for one of the major challenges of marital relations – the boredom, distance, and fatigue partners can feel for each other that can eventually damage or even destroy married life.

This point needs to be explored even further, but as stated before, we will leave this task to the reader.

In conclusion, let us reiterate that any scientific evidence proving the health benefits of the commandments merely elucidates their profound and eternal significance of the Divine ordinances. Such reasons are not, however, the ultimate rationale for the commandments, which transcend human understanding altogether. Thus, no matter what their other benefits, observance of the commandments has itself always been the greatest benefit for the Jewish people.


Adapted from The Revolution by Rabbi Zamir Cohen 


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