Project Genesis

Purification Before Marriage

I have been studying the Jewish wedding customs. In my study, I have come to understand that there are certain purification rites for a virgin before her marriage.

In fact, the purification process is carefully practiced by all married (or about-to-be-married) Orthodox Jewish women at the end of each menstrual period (there are probably at least two million Orthodox Jews in the world today). The monthly physical separation mandated by these laws has been credited with the relatively high levels of marital stability and freshness enjoyed by many Orthodox couples.

I have also heard from a yet uncorroborated source that because there is shedding of blood during consummation of the marriage that the bride is unclean and must separate from her husband for 7 days to purify herself yet again.

The blood shed through the tearing of the hymen tissue does in fact create the possibility of the existence of menstrual bleeding being “covered up?? by the blood from the hymen. Hence, a quasi-menstrual period is observed.

I understand that this may have been an ancient custom rather than a modern one. Are you aware of any book or books that would address these questions? I am also interested in knowing just what these purification rites include, as well.

There are currently at least a dozen good books in English on the subject. For a good selection, you can try and search for the words “family purity??.

With regards,
Rabbi Boruch Clinton

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