(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Need A Little Mussar

Matthew Kane (Bais Medrash Volume 1 Number 98) asks how learning about
Toomah and Tahara will help him in his daily life.

This topic was extensively dealt with by Rav Hirsch. Rav Hirsch interpreted
Toomah as "a feeling of spiritual helplessness in the presence of the
physical forces of this world". By contrast Taharah is "a feeling or
awareness of our free will".

Hence dead bodies make us feel "Why should I build anything in this world
if tomorrow I will die". Similarly involuntary sexual excretions
(menstruation or seminal emissions) make us feel "Why should I try and
abstain from prohibited relations seeing that my body involuntarily
excretes sexual emissions--why should I believe that I have control over

In both cases my feeling of freedom is challenged.

Rav Hirsch throughout his commentary shows how the detailed laws of Toomah
and Taharah strengthen our awareness of free will. His commentary on these
matters may be found on Nu 19 (50 pages) and throughout Leviticus. I highly
recommend it to anyone studying Toomah VTaharah.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA;