Impure Discharges

Leviticus 15:1-33

This chapter outlines the various bodily discharges a person may experience which render them impure. Not only is the person who experiences the discharge affected, but also anyone who touches him or her or anything the affected person has come in contact with. Those contaminated by contact, however, are impure to a lesser degree, requiring only immersion and waiting till evening to be purified.


Routine discharges require immersion but not a sacrifice. A man who experiences a seminal discharge, and the woman with whom he is intimate at the time, is contaminated until that evening. Both must immerse in water to become purified. A menstruating woman is contaminated for seven days before she may immerse. She may not be intimate with a man during this time, but if she is, the man, too, is contaminated for seven days.


Unusual discharges have more serious purification requirements. Anyone, man or woman, who experiences an unusual discharge becomes impure, and anything he or she touches becomes contaminated. He or she must wait seven days after the discharge ceases to immerse himself or herself and his or her garments in water. On the eighth day, he or she brings two pigeons or turtledoves as a sin offering and burnt offering respectively.


As the Israel Bible points out, it is no coincidence that immersion in water is required in the purification process. As the source of life, it is appropriate that water be a part of this spiritual renewal and rebirth. As well, water’s fluid nature reminds us that our spiritual state is not fixed, either. Rather, each of us has ups and downs, and there is always room for growth.


Virtual Classroom Discussion


Comments ( 11 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Courtney

    The thing is, no matter what this means, we as Christians of today do not follow anything in the old testament.
    It is done away with when Jesus died on the cross as the living sacrafice for our sons making us no longer need to use the priests to make us forgiven.
    We can simply pray and are forgiven and the sin is remembered no more. Once we truly repent meaning turn away from said sin.
    So, as the Bible says the old testament was as a teacher to bring us to the understanding of Jesus and His coming. We are under the new laws. And the old is done away with.

  • I wonder what the question above was, nevertheless I will say something about the discharges chapter; it teaches us that body purity is very important to the Lord. And the phrase cleanliness is next to Godliness/ Elohimliness is spot on.

  • This discussion reminds me of something my mother would always say when I protested as a child against taking a bath. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", she'd say to my protests. Her words always ended the argument, but not for the reason she gave….
    It's also clear that cleanliness is a part of being healthy. Following the Torah has done far more to preserve HIS people in this area more than any other. During the plagues over the ages where hundreds (thousands?) died, many of the Jews remained healthy in the midst of the community which only brought more suspicion on them by ignorant people, I wonder how many could have been saved if they'd learned the Torah from their Jewish neighbors and the wisdom therein….
    Baruch Hashem.

  • Menstrual blood or spermacells also make a person impure and need a purifying immersion in the miqwe. No sacrifice is needed because these are natural temporary and regularly returning impurities laid in us by our Creator. Maybe He wanted us to remember some incompleteness of our life here on earth. The one is not perfect without the other and man is not perfect without THE OTHER (B”H) Completeness we are looking for in our marriage and by our going to the temple (synagogue) The abstinence of not being able to go there will make us more longing for that completion.

    • In the explanation of Tsara'at and metzora is the answer, I think. So it's my personal opinion. You are of course free to think different…. Fluid coming out of man makes him/her unclean, impure. If that's what you want, go ahead. There will always be a struggle in a dedicated human life for purity in order to reach out to your Creator. And remember His (B"H) mercies are everlasting, never ending. He is an infinite G-d.

  • This is about being able to go into the temple, Our God is a Holy God, we have to cleanse our selves before we enter into His presence.

    • Thank you for pointing that out. In most of these cases, being impure is relevant with regard to being able to enter the Temple or touching things that are considered holy.

      • Shira I think there is more to say about that. When a woman is in her period she looses blood. In the blood is life. We go to the temple in order to receive 'new life' through the Word and the words that are spoken there in drasja and the community. Not being able to be in the temple does mean having to stay away from the blessings, words and community of the Holy One. This will make man more longing to go there. So in creation there is a little incompleteness created in man so that he/she may miss the more the Holy Presence.

  • Diana Brown

    I believe because the Lord instituted marriage between one man and one woman to show the nations He wanted pagan sexuality to stop, He formed the body to respond to His Plan when the person decided to use his body in sexual behaviors that were against God’s Order for Procreation. God never intends sexual pleasure or erotica to replace the pleasure we are to receive from being in His Presence.
    Sexual sins usually are performed “under the radar” because these sins disobey Torah and the offender knows it. So the discharge is also present but “under the clothing”. The sages use a phrase that the punishment must fit the crime I believe.
    This irritating discharge brings suffering to the person afflicted and he or she will seek treatment for relief hoping they will not succumb to it’s effects if no treatment is found.
    We must learn that if God says to do something it is for our good and if He says to refrain from doing something, that is equally for our good. Just like Kashrut, we must discern clean from unclean and decide what we will do.
    We don’t want to emulate Eve after she ate the forbidden fruit. Then she no longer had to wonder whether the fruit which looked pleasing to the eye was beneficial to the soul.
    Humanity is curious and exploratory but there are some places even angels fear to tread and we should learn to discern the Will of the Lord for our lives even if society tries to tell us that God’s Laws are no longer necessary for life to flourish.
    Before the sin of the golden calf, there was no national sin in Torah except for one–the mistreatment of widows and orphans. Now, after the lesson of the Golden Calf and the death of Aaron’s sons, the nation is paying attention so the Lord is ready to lay down the law to insure He will have a Nation ready to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land.

    • Kevin

      Good perspective. I can’t really add to it. Only thing I can say is sometimes we just obey what the Father says with no exact explanation.

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